1985 Calgary home goes net-zero

Peter Darlington of Solar Home Inc. transformed his 1985 home from a building with higher than average GHG emissions to net-zero with this site-built deep retrofit.

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Building photo: Completed retrofit, front of house.

Calgary, Alberta

Peter Darlington of Solar Homes Inc. converted his high-emission 1985 detached single-family home to net-zero ready by making the building super-insulated and airtight and installing high-performing windows, energy-efficient lighting and appliances.

When the deep retrofit was done, Peter took the project to net-zero by installing solar panels on his garage.

After a year of monitoring, Peter confirmed the solar array produced slightly more energy than he and his family consumed. The solar panels powered the entire home, including lighting, appliances, electrical outlets, hot-water heating, as well as space heating and cooling.

In 2018, Peter acquired a 2014 Chevy Volt and installed more solar panels on the property. The vehicle is entirely solar-powered and carbon neutral.

The project was the Canadian Home Builder's Association's first CHBA Labelled Net Zero Renovation.

BEFORE

AFteR

ENERGY 
CONSUMPTION
BEFORE
167
GJ/year
AFTER
0
GJ/year
COMFORT
BEFORE
AFTER
BUILDING CONDITION
BEFORE
AFTER
RENEWABLES
BEFORE
None
AFTER
15.2 kW Hanwha and CanSolar Array
WAll Insulation
BEFORE
4” studs with batts (R8-12)
AFTER
Added 4” EIFS (R16) for total of ~R26
Ceiling Insulation
BEFORE
R30
AFTER
R60
Foundation Insulation
BEFORE
Interior 6” walls with R20 batt insulation
AFTER
Interior 6” walls with R20 batt insulation
Windows
BEFORE
old wood casements, double-paned
AFTER
Lux Windows & Glass, Triple Glazed Low-E
Ventilation
BEFORE
None
AFTER
Lifebreath for a complete air change every three hours
Heating
BEFORE
Gas furnace, ~80% efficient
AFTER
Mitsubishi Zuba Central
Cooling
BEFORE
None
AFTER
Mitsubishi Zuba Central
Hot Water
BEFORE
Gas hot water, ~60% efficient
AFTER
AO Smith heatpumps
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