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Habitat for Humanity Net-Zero Duplex

Breaking the mold to end the cycle of poverty

Edmonton, Alberta
Project of the Year
2013 Alberta Construction Magazine-Sustainability

Habitat for Humanity’s vision is to see a world where deserving families have a safe and decent place to live. Together, Habitat for Humanity and our Edmonton-based team developed, constructed, and assembled a pioneering project to bring their vision to life. 

Striving to find solutions, we know that the best ideas come from collaboration. We partnered with Lafarge Canada to create the first net-zero energy home in Canada. We provided architectural and sustainable design services to capitalize on the use of precast concrete as the primary building material and provide a building envelope capable of achieving a net-zero energy status – a building that produces as much energy as it consumes over 12 consecutive months. Features include thoughtful assembly of panels to provide visual relief through color and texture contrasts, green roof and green wall landscape elements, and a solar cap that provides both formal and functional benefit.

By designing this net-zero building, targeting LEED for Homes Platinum certification, home owners will enjoy low utility costs for years to come. We are proud to be a part of this initiative that has such a positive impact on the community.

Habitat for Humanity Net Zero Home Documentary

Transcript of the video follows
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<p><b>Alfred Nikolai</b>, CEO Habitat for Humanity Edmonton</p> <p>When Lafarge and Stantec came to Habitat and said they wanted to build a net zero energy efficient house and use Habitat for Humanity as the mode to do it, you know, we were excited three years ago when we heard about this.</p> <p><b>Ron Voss</b>, New Habitat for Humanity Home Owner</p> <p>Well when my wife first told me about it, that it was a net zero project and concrete was involved, I actually thought she was mistaken, because you know I didn’t think it was really feasible.</p> <p><b>Klaas Rodenburg</b>, Stantec Sustainability Specialist</p> <p>We did not actually start looking at net zero when we first started this, it was just going to be a sustainable home, LEED. We said “we’re so close, let’s see what we can do to take it to that next step.”</p> <p>So basically, the geoexchange takes care of the space heating, keeping it comfortable, the photovoltaic panels are there to do the lights and electricity and ultimately we use the grid as storage, as our battery. So when the solar panels on a nice sunny day, you don’t need a lot of power, we export to the grid. In the winter, when we get shorter days, we probably import from the grid. And if our models are right, then we should at the end of the year come out to net zero.</p> <p><b>Matt Roper</b>, Stantec Intern Architect</p> <p>I think what was so interesting about this project was that it was holistically sustainable. We were looking at this as a net zero home but, as well, Having habitat as a partner, we were also looking at the economic sustainability of it. We did attempt to really from the inside make it appear that if you didn’t know you were in a concrete home, that it wouldn’t be apparent from the second you stepped into it.</p> <p><b>Don Zakariasen</b>, Director of Marketing for Precast Concrete, Lafarge Western Canada</p> <p>When you go into the house, the comfort, the livability, the lack of outside noise in that home is just phenomenal. You see that in a lot of concrete buildings anyway, but that’s going to be a key factor; and the fact that it doesn’t burn. It’s going to be permanent, it’ll have a long life. It’s going to retain its value. I think the families that have those are going to be extremely happy.</p> <p>Obviously this is a prototype so we need to get in mass production to get cost down, that sort of thing. But we’re not anxious just jump at that. We want to get the data in and then reevaluate it, make sure we understand what we’re going to do before we take it to a commercial perspective.</p> <p><b>Klaas Rodenburg</b>, Stantec Sustainability Specialist</p> <p>Just because this home is net zero, there’s a couple hundred thousand homes in Edmonton that aren’t. What if this home was similar to the way you buy a Dell computer? You get your base plan, and then you have a bunch of options and two or three months, whenever, it basically shows up on site and gets done. So that’s really what we were trying to do is to see how can we make this and replicate it on a much larger basis .</p> <p><b>Alfred Nikolai</b>, CEO Habitat for Humanity, Edmonton</p> <p>It’s been a huge adventure, a wonderful, exciting adventure. But you know, it all comes down to today, because what we all have strived for is happening today: two happy families and their children are going to be homeowners this afternoon and they’re going to receive the keys to their house, and that’s really what it’s all about, obviously for Habitat but also I think for Lafarge and Stantec. You know, they wanted to do this as a pilot, but in the end they also wanted to also help two families and we’re so proud that we live in this community and that we have companies like Lafarge and Stantec to help us do what we do.</p> <p><b>Ron Voss</b>, New Habitat for Humanity Home Owner</p> <p>It’s sort of a dream come true to be able to be to move down into the neighbourhood that you’ve always wanted to live in. And that is a true story, that is true.</p>

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