78. Chasing Net Zero: Net-zero 101

Blog: Net-zero 101: A home that gives as much energy as it receives

A net-zero home is more than just a place to hang your hat – it’s a super-efficient, solar-powered look into the future.

It was Le Corbusier, the Franco-Swiss modernist and founder of brutalism who coined the term “buildings as machines for living.” The net-zero home is far more deserving of the term than the bare concrete structures that “Le Corbu” made famous.

Over the course of a year a net-zero home will generate as much energy as it consumes. They’ve been around for less than 10 years, but these buildings and the thinking behind them are taking North America by storm. 

Net-zero history

Net-zero homes started as a glimmer in the Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation’s eye. They developed a pilot program back in 2004 and it led to the Riverdale net-zero project being completed in Edmonton, in 2007.

Peter Amerongen built the Riverdale house, one of the first net-zero homes in Canada, with the help of a team of 45 professionals and volunteers. Amerongen has been building homes for more than 40 years and has been interested in energy efficiency since the oil crisis in the ‘70s.


Podcast: Chasing Net-zero 101 – Learn the secrets

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Green Energy Futures CKUA podcast Net-zero 101. In part 1 our series Chasing Net-zero we look at the history and secrets of making that produces as much energy as it consumes.


Michael Turner resume - Manasc Isaac Architects 

Peter Amerongen bio - Habitat Studio

Habitat Studio projects

Millcreek net-zero home - An exhaustive blog written about the process by the owner

Riverdale net-zero project - A ton of information on one of Canada's first net-zero homes

Net-zero houses save energy beautifully - Edmonton Journal 

The Net Zero Home Energy Coalition official site

Sustainable Building Consortium official site

Net-zero evolution: From the Star Trek Enterprise to utter simplicity - Green Energy Futures

Learn how net-zero home builders are building a better world - Green Energy Futures

CMHC Equilibrium Sustainable Housing Initiative - CMHC