How to save on monthly energy bills? Central Alberta woman explains

How much would you save if you didn’t have to pay for energy for your home every month?

A home in Lacombe County is central Alberta’s first “damn-near” passive solar net zero home.

Chelsah Thomas, who built the house along with her husband, Jesse, explained a net zero home generates as much energy as it consumes over the course of a year. Located just outside of Blackfalds, the home uses solar energy to passively heat itself, has solar panels, along with other forms of energy, and an off-grid and a grid-tied system.

“So we technically don’t pay any energy bills,” she said Tuesday.

The house is designed to capture passive solar heat or “free heat.” Net zero homes are constructed as high-performance homes, heated electrically and powered by solar energy.

As of 2018, Alberta had three certified passive homes, and some other uncertified ones, the wife and mother confirmed.

The Thomas house, constructed last year, was built using the principles of a passive house. The high-performance home did not meet the stringent requirements, however, and remains uncertified, and is being considered a “damn-near passive house.”

Thomas, 34, explained her house produces more energy in the summer than in winter. This means the family earns credits in the summer months from its utility provider, and pays for energy in winters, which evens out the costs over the course of the year.

The Sol Invictus Energy Services co-owner said Alberta and Sasktachewan use the most energy to heat their homes in all of Canada, based on numbers from Statistics Canada.

In Red Deer, energy efficiency programs are becoming more popular due to funding and grants available from the government of Alberta, said Thomas.

A report from Energy Efficiency Alberta in October confirmed central Albertans are embracing energy efficiency programs. Red Deer had one of the highest per capita participation rates in the Residential No-Charge Energy Savings program, with one out of every 10 homes (a total of 4,778 residences) taking advantage.

The city was one of the top communities in Alberta for participation in home improvement and online incentives, with 285 participants adding insulation, replacing windows, opting for drain water heat recovery or installing a tankless hot water heater.

Home owners wondering about their usage and how it compares to others can go to and type in their address. The map shows potential heat loss and provides a heat rating compared to other homes in the neighbourhood.

Thomas, a certified energy advisor through Natural Resources Canada, advises people to install LED lights, have short showers, wash clothing with cold water and install window shading and air sealing to start saving on energy bills. Those who are buying a home or renovating can add insulation in walls, ceilings and floors, install triple pane windows, and replace old appliances with high-efficiency models.

Just Posted

School bus crash in Edmonton sends 12 to hospital, 2 with broken bones

EDMONTON — Twelve people, including 11 children, were taken to hospital Thursday… Continue reading

Life after RDC includes Estonian music concert for two former college music instructors

Karen Gustafson and Dale Wheeler will perform June 4 at Burman University

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

HIGH LEVEL, Alta. — A fire-threatened town in northern Alberta says a… Continue reading

Crime prevention barbecue on Friday in Innisfail

Barbecue runs 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Central Alberta Co-op parking lot

India’s ruling party claims win with assured lead in votes

NEW DELHI — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party claimed it had… Continue reading

Dogs and drugs don’t mix: Red Deer business wants to leave downtown after 18 years

One business owner is done with downtown Red Deer after 18 years.… Continue reading

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

North Vancouver RCMP seek skier whose pole caused brain injury to B.C. teen

VANCOUVER — A North Vancouver family is joining with RCMP to urge… Continue reading

Canadian ‘Aladdin’ star eyes diverse career championing homegrown talent

TORONTO — Canadian “Aladdin” star Mena Massoud says his wild carpet ride… Continue reading

Supreme Court will tuck into UberEats case about drivers’ benefit rights

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada will help decide whether a… Continue reading

Speech from the throne: Read the entire text outlining UCP priorities

The following is the speech from the throne, read Wednesday in the… Continue reading

Canada’s Rebecca Marino drops second-round French Open qualifying match

PARIS — Canada’s Rebecca Marino fell just short in a second-round qualifying… Continue reading

Acclaimed writer Casey Plett wins $60K First Novel Award for ‘Little Fish’

TORONTO — Casey Plett has won the Amazon Canada First Novel Award… Continue reading

Nik Wallenda and sister plan highwire walk over Times Square

NEW YORK — For his next trick, daredevil Nik Wallenda plans to… Continue reading

Most Read