What is a Net Zero Energy House?

A Net Zero Energy house generates as much power as it uses in a year, typically through the use of solar panels and some non traditional Energy Conservation Measures. When these two techniques are used most houses can be made to be Net Zero.

What does a Net Zero Energy House Look Like?

It looks almost exactly like your house! The only exterior difference you’ll see are solar panels on the roof.

The primary interior difference is a heat pump which looks exactly like your central AC unit and the water heater will also need to be electric or an electric Heat Pump DHW heater. Sometimes if basements are not moderately well insulated or attics are poorly insulated or the house is very draughty (think old farmhouse), we’ll recommend insulation and/or air sealing upgrades.

How is it done?

We study your house’s design and utility bills to size solar panels to offset your annual electricity load.

We identify if any Energy Conservation Measures like additional insulation, air sealing, etc. are a better investment than heat pump heating and recommend accordingly.


Roadmap to a Net Zero Energy House: The 4 Step Process

Step 1 – Site Visit by your Energy Advisor

  • The NRCan energy assessment is still required to obtain incentives for qualifying upgrades and must be completed before you begin any renovations or upgrades.
  • While onsite, your energy advisor will also gather additional information for your Roadmap to Net Zero Energy Report.

Step 2 - Energy Analysis & Reports

  • Your energy advisor will provide you with a house energy rating and report.
  • Our engineering team will further analyze the results and produce a much more detailed report that provides a step by step roadmap towards achieving Net Zero Energy.

Step 3 – Complete the Upgrades

  • With the Roadmap to Net Zero Energy in hand, proceed with your upgrades with the contractor of your choice. We can provide referrals if needed.

Step 4 – Followup Energy Assessment

  • To claim government incentives, you must complete a post upgrade energy assessment. Simply contact our office when you are ready and we will schedule this at a convenient time.

The Roadmap to Net Zero Energy Report

The NRCan energy assessment is a valuable approach to energy conservation but it has limitations that are addressed in the Roadmap to Net Zero Energy report.

  1. The NRCan report provides results in Giga Joules (GJ)
  2. The Roadmap to Net Zero reports measurements in dollars which are easier to understand ($ vs GJ).
  3. The Roadmap to Net Zero estimates the cost of upgrades and provides you with an estimated payback in years, for each recommended measure.
  4. The Roadmap to Net Zero identifies the Green House Gas reduction of each measure allowing you to determine the relative importance of each measure.
  5. Finally, the Roadmap to Net Zero recommends the timeline that you should complete each measure to match the near end of life of existing components (ie. recommend replacing a furnace after it remaining useful life and move to the non polluting less expensive heat pump and solar panel combination).

Used with permission: © 2020 by the Building Science Trust inc. Design by Ben

The Roadmap to Net Zero Energy could include:


Conservation Measures

The upgrade of insulation, air sealing, windows, doors, etc. with higher performance units at the end of their useful lives.

heat pump beside house

Heat Pumps

They could lower a building’s annual heating energy consumption by approximately 60%. Heat pumps could be used for space heating and domestic hot water. Natural Gas costs about $.55/kWh (when the equipment cost is included in the operating cost). Today’s more efficient heat pumps when combined with solar panels can drop heating costs below the cost of heating with natural gas (~$.050/kWh) and produce no Green House Gas.

Family looking at solar panels on roof

Solar Panels

Adding net metered solar panels to offset energy requirements. While the average cost of electricity in Ontario is about $.15/kWh, the lifetime cost of solar power (capital cost/lifetime energy production ) is around $.08/kWh.

For more information or to book your home energy assessment, please CALL or TEXT our nearest regional office

British Columbia: 236.300.2233
Alberta: 587.912.4442
Southern ON: 647.479.8542
Southwestern ON: 519.914.5472
Eastern ON: 613.518.3901
North & Central ON: 705.998.2563
British Columbia: 236.300.2233
Alberta: 587.912.4442
Southern ON: 647.479.8542
Southwestern ON: 519.914.5472
Eastern ON: 613.518.3901
North & Central ON: 705.998.2563
Toll Free: 866-296-9473
Toll Free: 866-296-9473
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NRGwise cares deeply about the planet. That’s why we partnered with One Tree Planted/@onetreeplanted to plant a tree for every customer.


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