Family enjoying living inside Red Deer’s first net-zero home

People in 20 years will wonder why all homes weren’t built to the net-zero energy standards now under development today, says an official with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

Krista and Jonas Neidert

Krista and Jonas Neidert

People in 20 years will wonder why all homes weren’t built to the net-zero energy standards now under development today, says an official with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

Brian Hallahan and two co-workers from CMHC’s regional office in Calgary presented Avalon Master Builder president Jonas Neidert with a gift basket and time capsule to recognize the role he and his family have played in setting new trends for environmentally sustainable homes.

Neidert, his wife, Krista and their 18-month-old son are the first family in Red Deer to move into a home built under the corporation’s EQuilibrium program.

“Red Deer is really the EQuilibrium capital of Canada,” said Anand Mishra, regional advisor from CMHC’s Calgary office.

Of the 10 EQuilibrium homes that have now been built across Canada, four are in Alberta and two are in Red Deer, with the other built by Laebon Homes.

CMHC’s EQuilibrium program was set up to encourage development of new standards that reduce energy consumption and encourage use of locally-produced, environmentally-friendly building products.

CMHC provides builders with $50,000 to $60,000 to help cover research and promotion costs, said Mishra. That grant comes with an expectation that the builders who receive it will share the insight they have gained and includes a promise that the homes will be available for tours during a set period of time.

Neidert said the design and construction of his family’s 2,624-quare-foot home cost about $200,000 more than if it had been built to conventional standards. The CMHC grant was not applied to actual construction of the home.

He hopes a portion of the additional cost for his new home can be recovered through its capacity to generate its own electricity from roof-mounted solar panels and heat its own water for domestic use and heating systems.

The actual level of payoff to the homeowner will swing on energy costs, said Mishra. There is no gas line to the house at all, so the Neiderts will not have a gas bill.

Costs of new homes like the Avalon Discovery 3 will go down as more people build them, he said. CMHC estimates that the house will generate more electricity than is uses, with the balance to show up as a credit on the family’s power bill.

Neidert said his first utility bill had a negative balance for electrical use. That credit will be applied to the account in winter, when electrical use increases and some of the power will have to come from the City of Red Deer’s power grid, he said.

Other features include insulation and ventilation systems that hold heat inside the house when it’s cool outside and prevent it from getting too hot in the summer months. There’s no lawn to mow and the landscaping is designed to use plants that do not have a high water requirement.

There’s no basement, either, said Neidert. That’s because it’s much easier to insulate against cold air than it is to insulate against cold from the ground, he said.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta identifies 1,183 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

50.5% of all active cases are variants of concern

Whistle Stop Cafe owner Christopher Scott and his sister Melodie pose for a photo at the Mirror restaurant. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Alberta Health Services delivers ‘closure order’ to Mirror restaurant

Alberta Health Services says it has delivered a closure order to a… Continue reading

Flags bearers hold the Canadian flag high during the Flags of Remembrance ceremony in Sylvan Lake in this October file photo. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
New project to pay tribute to Canadians killed in Afghanistan

Flags of Remembrance scheduled for Sept. 11

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Alberta vaccine rollout expanding to front-line health-care workers

More than 240,000 eligible health-care workers can begin booking vaccine appointments starting… Continue reading

File photo
Security and police block the entrance to GraceLife Church as a fence goes up around it near Edmonton on Wednesday April 7, 2021. The Alberta government has closed down and fenced off a church that has been charged with refusing to follow COVID-19 health rules. Alberta Health Services, in a statement, says GraceLife church will remain closed until it shows it will comply with public-health measures meant to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Hundreds gather to support Alberta church shut down for ignoring COVID-19 orders

SPRUCE GROVE, Alta. — Hundreds of people are gathered outside an Alberta… Continue reading

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces march during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 8, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces is developing contingency plans to keep COVID-19 from affecting its ability to defend the country and continue its missions overseas amid concerns potential adversaries could try to take advantage of the crisis. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canadian special forces supported major Iraqi military assault on ISIL last month

OTTAWA — Some Canadian soldiers supported a major military offensive last month… Continue reading

A woman pays her repects at a roadblock in Portapique, N.S. on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. The joint public inquiry in response to the April mass shooting in Nova Scotia has announced a mandate that includes a probe of the RCMP response as well as the role of gender-based violence in the tragedy. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Creating permanent memorial to Nova Scotia mass shooting victims a delicate task

PORTAPIQUE, N.S. — Creating a memorial for those killed in Nova Scotia’s… Continue reading

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Erin O’Toole says ‘I didn’t hide who I was’ running for Conservative leader

OTTAWA — Erin O’Toole assured Conservative supporters that he never hid who… Continue reading

Calgary Flames' Johnny Gaudreau, second from left, celebrates his goal with teammates, from left to right, Matthew Tkachuk, Noah Hanifin and Rasmus Andersson, of Sweden, during second period NHL hockey action against the Edmonton Oilers, in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal
Jacob Markstrom earns shutout as Flames blank Oilers 5-0 in Battle of Alberta

CALGARY — It took Sean Monahan breaking out of his goal-scoring slump… Continue reading

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia's opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan's government, but they say Monday's throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province's economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s opposition parties acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented… Continue reading

A grizzly bear walks on a treadmill as Dr. Charles Robbins, right, offers treats as rewards at Washington State University's Bear Research, Education, and Conservation Center in this undated handout photo. Grizzly bears seem to favour gently sloping or flat trails like those commonly used by people, which can affect land management practices in wild areas, says an expert who has written a paper on their travel patterns. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Anthony Carnahan *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Grizzly bears prefer walking on gentle slopes at a leisurely pace like humans: study

VANCOUVER — Grizzly bears seem to favour gently sloping or flat trails… Continue reading

FILE - In this July 27, 2020, file photo, nurse Kathe Olmstead prepares a shot that is part of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., in Binghamton, N.Y. Moderna said Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, its COVID-19 shot provides strong protection against the coronavirus that's surging in the U.S. and around the world. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File)
The COVID-19 wasteland: searching for clues to the pandemic in the sewers

OTTAWA — When Ottawa Public Health officials are trying to decide whether… Continue reading

Most Read