NO-DEMO NET-ZERO READY RETROFIT

Reaching carbon neutral, net-zero energy in AB (no more gas) without demolition, disruption or external financial government support.

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Building photo: Pre Retrofit

Airdrie, Alberta

Ecosynergy founder and owner Amelie Caron used cutting-edge technology to make her 2010 home in Airdrie, Alberta, net-zero ready.

This retrofit had three phases and showcased how a home can move to net-zero ready without any demolition. Pre-Retrofit, the house used 143 GJ per year. Now it's almost net-zero, getting all its energy from renewables.

Phase 1

The first phase involved making the home airtight and free of leaks using a technology called AeroBarrier. AeroBarrier involves applying positive air pressure inside the house. This positive air pressure carries an atomized, non-toxic, water-based sealant throughout the home, sealing all leaks.

Phase 2

After the home was sealed, Amelie worked with Thermal Creek to install a geothermal exchange in her backyard. When the geothermal exchange done, Amelie and her family could completely disconnect from the natural gas system that most Albertans depend on. No Gas Bill, No Admin fees, No Maintenance and No secondary heating source!

Phase 3

Working with Skyfire Energy, Caron's home received a 10.5 KW solar array. The new array supplies the home's electrical needs without any need to upgrade the electrical entrance.

Learnings

This three-phase project is an excellent example of a mechanical-only retrofit demonstrating how innovation can help overcome the challenges of getting a home net-zero ready, including the following:

  • Using AeroBarrier meant no gutting or demo inside the home was required while addressing the single most significant source of energy loss - a leaky building envelope.
  • The approach did not require large, up-front capital costs and expensive renovations to get the building ready.
  • There was no need to upgrade the main electrical entrance, keeping costs down.
  • Installing geothermal and solar made the home net-zero and carbon-neutral.
  • Using technology to make the house airtight instead of intensive and disruptive techniques - like gutting the interior, building out the studs and manually installing more insulation - reduces the risk of envelope failure.  
  • Next to no waste ended up in a landfill, preserving the home's embodied carbon (the carbon emitted during the original construction of the building).

Amelie viewed this project as a proof-of-concept demonstration that other homeowners can replicate.

Note: Energy performance monitoring of this project is ongoing. Post-retrofit, the home used 21 GJ/year of energy. Final numbers will be based on a full year of utility usage.

Please take a look below for videos about each phase of the project.

BEFORE

AFTER

ENERGY 
CONSUMPTION
BEFORE
143
GJ/year
AFTER
21
GJ/year
COMFORT
BEFORE
typical
AFTER
more constant in winter and much cooler in summer.
BUILDING CONDITION
BEFORE
2010 typical, NG appliances
AFTER
2010 typical with geo-exchange heating, cooling and domestic hot water
RENEWABLES
BEFORE
none
AFTER
solar
WAll Insulation
BEFORE
2010 typical
AFTER
same
Ceiling Insulation
BEFORE
2010 typical
AFTER
same
Foundation Insulation
BEFORE
2010 typical
AFTER
same
Windows
BEFORE
2010 Typical
AFTER
same
Ventilation
BEFORE
2010 typical
AFTER
humidity sensors to all exhaust fans
Heating
BEFORE
2010 Nat gas 92%
AFTER
geo-exchange-COP 4.5
Cooling
BEFORE
none
AFTER
geo-exchange-COP 8.5
Hot Water
BEFORE
nat gas direct vent 40 gal
AFTER
desuperheater tank with electric back up
Download Case Study File