Alberta’s Net Zero homes revolution

By Pepper Rodriguez
February 06, 2024

Climate change has factored in our daily lives and reducing greenhouse gas emissions has become central in how businesses and lives are conducted today. Alberta’s new home industry has taken notice, and many new homebuilders are now taking part in the Net Zero home revolution.

Net Zero refers to a home producing as much energy as it uses in a year. With the added burden of the carbon tax, homeowners’ heating bills can go up substantially and the need to have more sustainable practices, such as Net Zero, goes a long way in alleviating those costs.

In Calgary, Net Zero homes are becoming more readily available from a select number of homebuilders, as buyers increasingly demand a more sustainable home. Avalon Master Builder, Brookfield Residential and Jayman BUILT are all offering Net Zero homes and showhomes are open for buyers to check out.

Avalon Master Builder

The developers of the popular ZEN townhome series have laid out some amazing new floorplans for 2022, but a key component of their designs remains to be increasing energy efficiency. Avalon is continuing to apply Net Zero and Net Zero Ready methods in their building designs and construction process, says Chris Williams, President, Avalon Master Builder.

Avalon is taking this a step further in 2024 with ZEN Livingston, their first Net Zero Community in Calgary. Sales began in last November and they are seeing strong demand.

“Every home will be built as an energy-efficient home with a superior airtight building envelope, extra insulation and triple pane windows which eliminates drafts and reduces energy consumption. The homes are more comfortable, healthier, quieter, and more durable,” Williams says.

ZEN Livingston offers Avalon’s traditional stacked townhomes, including one- and two-bedroom level living flats with an outdoor amenity space, and two- and three-bedroom two-storey City homes, with a fenced back yard.

“It is important that our industry continues to advance toward carbon reduction, and in increased occupant health and comfort. A Net Zero or Net Zero Ready home offers the same functional experience as a home built to base building code but has substantially lower emissions,” Williams adds.

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Brookfield Residential

Brookfield Residential has been studying how to efficiently build Net Zero homes for the better part of a decade and they are opening new showhomes in Edmonton and Calgary that display all that they have learned so far.

Their first attempt in building an energy efficient home was with the passive house they completed in 2019, says Brookfield Residential’s Lindsey Wachowicz, Business Strategies Manager, Land & Housing Development for Alberta.
She says what they had learned in building the passive house was that the resulting costs didn’t make sense for production housing at that time. “Since then, there have been a lot of new innovation introduced that may change the outcome we saw back then.”



Today, Brookfield Residential’s Net Zero home is far different from that passive house, because there are different requirements for modeling and construction details required, and now the multi-national homebuilder and land developer feels more confident in how to efficiently build Net Zerohomes.

“Later this year, we will look to introduce Energy Efficient packages that include a limited net zero and net zero ready offering,” she says.

Wachowicz says there are three components that essentially make up the Net Zero home: building envelope, mechanical system, and renewable energy source. Having every one of those components built to Net Zero standards can result in an 80 per cent more efficient home.

“With a thicker wall assembly, and an ASHP (air source heat pump) for your mechanical system – the home runs more efficiently and the energy used can be offset from the solar panels – this can help futureproof your home of any electrical rate increases,” she tells Calgary New Home + Condo Guide.

“With the advanced construction methods and materials, a Net Zero home is a more comfortable with more even temperatures throughout. The additional benefit of a tightly built home is it is a quieter home,” she adds. “Lastly, ultimately knowing you are helping support the environment, our Net Zero home saves 14 tonnes GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions/year. That is equivalent to get 17 gas powered vehicles off the road per year.”

In Calgary, Brookfield Residential is opening the Purcell 24 showhome in Cranston’s Riverstone in the southeast. It is one of their most popular models with three bedrooms, a bonus room and a flex room in the main floor.

“For Net Zero, the home features an ASHP with an electric back up heat source as it is a full electric appliances and mechanical system – no natural gas connection. It also features a net zero wall assembly, and 26 solar panels – just to name a few features. You can tour this home in Riverstone in Cranston.

Although there is an added price component in building a Net Zero home from 10 to 15 per cent more than a regular home, Wachowicz says to keep in mind the savings and peace of mind that a sustainable home design can provide.
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Jayman BUILT

Jayman BUILT has prided itself in being at the cutting edge of home design innovation in Alberta, and their hit line of advanced, energy-saving home models have proven that environmental sustainability and good business can go hand in hand.

“Our Jayman BUILT Net Zero certified homes – known, as the Quantum Performance Ultra E-Homes, prevent 10.37 tonnes of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere, and can save homeowners up to $2,850 on their energy costs,” says Dave Krasman, Director, Corporate Purchasing, Jayman BUILT.

“Not only is this home good for the environment, but good for homeowners’ pocketbook. As building code is requiring Net Zero Ready by 2030, it was important for us to ensure we can meet these advancements in code requirements today, not some time in the future.”

Jayman introduced the Quantum Performance Ultra-E home in 2021 and expanded its offering in 2022, with the Path to Net Zero. “They have been well received by the market, with a handful sold each year,” Krasman says. Today, buyers can build a Jayman Net Zero home in every community they build in, as long as the homesite has 200-amp servicing.
“A mix of laned and front-attached showhomes are available to tour with our Net Zero offering, which includes 30 or more solar panels, a proprietary wall system with Net Zero building envelope and triple pane R-8 windows with argon fill and an air source electric heat pump mechanical system. There is no noticeable change to the design, layout or functionality of the home. We have 12 Quantum Performance Ultra E-Showhomes in Calgary and eight in Edmonton available to tour.”

Building a Net Zero certified home does add approximately $80,000 to $100,000 to the home’s purchase price, he points out. “However, these prices do vary based on the ‘step’ you choose along the process. Every Jayman BUILT home we build comes with what we call our Core Performance – this is a set of standard, energy efficient inclusions like 10 solar panels, tankless hot water heater, high efficiency furnace, triple pane windows, and more. They come standard on all Jayman BUILT homes and save our homeowners up to $1,300 annually on their energy bills.”

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About Pepper Rodriguez

Pepper Rodriguez is a writer, editor of New Home + Condo Guide's Calgary and Edmonton editions.

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