The Government of Canada website’s Natural Resources section defines Net Zero Energy (NZE), or a Net Zero Home, as a property that produces at least as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis. The idea of a home, or any building for that matter, with no carbon footprint was deemed by many to be an idealistic one that is simply not practical. But industry growth of one very key element is making the concept a reality – insulated concrete forms.
What You Need to Know About Building a Net Zero House or Building Using Insulated Concrete Forms
ICF Net Zero Properties Can Deliver Energy Credits
Looking to validate the use of ICF to build a Net Zero building? Well, if it’s good enough for an entire elementary school it most certainly can be applied to your residential, municipal, or commercial property. Total ICF is a distributor of NUDURA products. In 2011 NUDURA ICF was a major part of the very first Net Zero school. The 77,285 square foot Richardsville Elementary is located in Kentucky. ICF was used to construct the building envelope together with a solar panel installation on the roof. It allowed the school to harvest enough energy to offset total energy, sending 300 kilowatts of power back to the grid. Today, the building generates so much solar energy (with only over one week of sun) that they cover all utility charges each month. In fact, they deliver an excess of energy to the point that they receive an estimated $40,000 USD credit each year. Imagine what ICF can do for your Net Zero project!
ICF is an Essential Piece of the Puzzle for All Net Zero Properties
Careful planning goes into constructing a Net Zero building. Certain elements are essential, and cannot be swapped out without impacting building efficiency. There needs to be some component of solar generation, which comes in the form of solar panelling on the roof. A geothermal (thermal energy generated and stored in the earth) heating and cooling system must also be evident. The way the property is positioned also plays a key part in achieving Net Zero status. The home or building must take full advantage of natural light. Thus, it is common to see a Net Zero property in an open area without vegetative overgrowth and away from tall buildings that cast a shadow. However, none of this will matter without one important cast member. ICF, which consists of pre-assembled panels, each one stacked, reinforced, and then filled with concrete, will dictate the ultimate success in achieving the sought after Net Zero goal.
Municipalities and FEDS are Calling for It
Don’t be surprised if there is a sweeping call for Net Zero homes in the very near future. We’re talking mandatory. It’s already happening in some places. Two weeks ago (October 2016), Santa Monica’s city council approved an ordinance that requires all new single-family homes built within city limits to be Net Zero. That’s a pretty big deal. In Vermont, with the backing of the congressman and state officials, the very first Net Zero housing development was opened to residents. On our side of the border, it was reported two weeks ago, that the Liberal government is expected to introduce changes to the national building code that will require builders to include more net zero homes in the next 15 years. At the moment, the federal government wants developers to build more Net Zero properties. But in the future, we have no doubt that it will be a requirement in many Canadian locales, Alberta communities included.
You’re looking at the future of residential, municipal, and commercial construction. If you want to stay ahead of the game and attract modern buyers while accommodating near-certain federal demands you need to start building with insulated concrete forms. If you’re building in Central Alberta, contact Total ICF today.