A much-anticipated event among eco-home enthusiasts took place March 8 with the completion of Belgravia Green—three homes situated in Edmonton’s well-established Belgravia neighbourhood.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the completion of the third home was attended by Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel, city councillor Don Iveson, and former Alberta official opposition leader Kevin Taft and his wife Jeanette Boman.
Taft and Boman are the new owners of the home—the feature of the project—built by Effect Home Builders, a small local company established in 2001 specializing in cutting-edge energy-efficient green designs.
The three homes are net-zero buildings, meaning they produce as a net total as much energy as they consume throughout the year.
Well lit with large, south-facing windows, the feature home offers a simple yet refined open plan for the kitchen/main room where the festivities were held.
In each room, labels here and there denoted the latest eco-friendly features and breakthrough methods of energy and resource efficiency. Particularly notable were the 75-cm thick walls, especially designed to provide insulation for Edmonton’s chilly winters.
Although not excessive in size, the house is open and spacious and has all the amenities needed for a modern lifestyle.
As Boman described to the assembled guests, one of the great appeals of the home is the sense of place that comes with it. It is “not another McMansion,” she quipped.
Stairs lead from the main room both downward to a comfortable and roomy basement and upward to an ample upper balcony overlooking a neighbourhood park.
Set back to, and sloping away from the balcony is the home’s pitched roof, which is clad with solar panels, the main source of electrical power.
Combined with the energy-saving methods used to construct the house, the solar panels will create more than the needed amount of electricity during summer when daylight is abundant. This excess electricity can be sold back to the grid, making a net gain for the homeowner.
During winter the panels will still generate electricity, and any deficiency will be made up for by drawing power back in from the grid. The aim is for the consumption and generation of electrical power to balance out over the course of a year.
One of the most notable qualities of all three Belgravia Green homes is their absolute uniqueness, as each is designed out of the necessity of harnessing natural energy to accord with the particular conditions provided on the lot on which it is built. Each employs different methods of energy generation.
With prices and energy availability at a premium in today’s market, this method is seen by Effect Home Builders as the wave of the future in home design.