A neighbourhood already known for its lush gardens and green spaces now hosts even more “green” with the opening of a technologically innovative low carbon model home.
Brookfield Residential, in partnership with SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology) and ATCO, opened the pilot Low Carbon Discovery Home last week in the new community of Chappelle Gardens so Edmontonians can see the future.
That future includes changes to the National Energy Code that are expected to reduce energy demand in Canada by 25 per cent. The Chappelle Gardens’ home demonstrates what building to the 2030 standard would require and how both homebuyers, and the homebuilding industry itself, may be impacted.
“Brookfield is committed to innovation and to the next, best building practices for sustainable homes and how to get to them in an affordable manner,” says Wendy Jabusch, Brookfield’s senior vice-president of Edmonton Homes.
Brookfield chose its Chappelle Gardens development to host the home, she says, because the theme of that community is “green” overall and the low carbon home sits close to the show home village so it can easily be displayed to the general public.
The southwest community, just off Ellerslie Road and minutes from Highway 2 and Anthony Henday Drive, opened in 2011. It’s set for 2024 completion, when approximately 4,500 families will call Chappelle Gardens home. Current residential offerings start from the mid-$200,000s up to the $450,000s.
The low carbon discovery home emits 72 per cent less carbon than a comparable home built to industry specifications with conventional heating and electrical systems. Additionally, the 1,620-square-foot home with three bedroom and 2.5 bathrooms will have 50 per cent lower utility costs, potentially saving the homeowner $1,500 annually.
The low carbon modifications include outer building upgrades that restrict heat escaping from the home; energy-efficient natural gas appliances; a micro combined heat and power system (mCHP) that uses waste from heating ventilation systems to produce electricity; a buffer tank filled with water to store thermal energy for home use, from the mCHP; solar panels; Sunstop Glazing Windows with Low-E coatings to keep the home cool in the summer and warm in the winter; spray foam insulation that improves heat insulation, moisture barrier, and decreases air leakage.
SAIT received funding of $385,500 from Western Economic Diversification Canada to purchase equipment, pay engineering consultancy fees, and support researcher salaries to demonstrate micro combined heat and power (mCHP) technology in a residential setting as a way to reduce gas emissions.
Jabusch says Brookfield is very proud of the home and its innovative uses of gas-fired technologies — a better source of energy than electricity in Alberta and a technology that ATCO says allows homeowners to generate power on site, rely less on the electrical grid, improve the efficiency of the home, and reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions.
But she says the added price tag — building costs for the low carbon home were about 18 per cent higher than a same-size traditional-built home — does not close the necessary affordability gap.
“There are significant savings when you get into the home, but you still have the challenges of the added cost to the home — and to your mortgage.”
Brookfield will have to decide whether it will offer the new technology in its homes, she says, as it remains committed to playing a key role in what homes and communities of the future look like.
Source: Edmonton Journal