Posts Tagged ‘Green Home’

Avalon unveils first Net-Zero home

Monday, March 1st, 2010

At first glance, it looks like any other new home.

Avalon Master Builders’ Discovery 4 House is a quaint two-storey with cedar shakes and stone detailing, an eye-catching crimson door, grey siding and a spacious front deck.

But upon closer inspection, there are other, more unexpected details as well — solar panels on the roof, solar thermal panels framing the windows and a solar thermal balustrade offer just a hint of what this forward-thinking home is all about.

“The Discovery 4 House is the culmination of years of work towards meeting our vision of building Net-Zero homes at no additional cost to consumers by 2015,” says Ryan Scott, Avalon’s CEO.

“This was a really interesting challenge, but once you look around, you’ll see it’s come together really, really well.”

The home — which is currently located on the SAIT campus, but will move to its permanent home in McKenzie Towne this spring — offers not just new technology, but old favourites as well.

The front foyer looks to a sunny dining room at right, where honey-hued maple hardwood comes with a history.

Reclaimed from a school gym in Canmore, the flooring is not only attractive, but eco-friendly.

At the back of the home, an L-shaped kitchen is outfitted with espresso-hued, shaker style cabinetry, along with a central island and corner pantry.

A spacious dining nook, private back entry and convenient laundr y room and half-bath complete the thoughtfully-planned main floor — however, there’s more to this space than meets the eye.

“What you don’t see is the structural insulated panel walls, which give you a much more consistent building envelope,” Scott says.

“It also gives you more than double the insulative properties for the same thickness. We also have triple-pane, low-E, argon-filled windows and LED lights, which are very efficient.”

The same standards apply upstairs, he adds, where environmentally friendly carpeting is plush underfoot, and where two secondary bedrooms, a generous full bath and a welcoming master bedroom await.

With its cosy, attic-inspired feel and a sunny, spacious ensuite, the master bedroom is an inviting space to relax much like the rest of the home.

“The house feels comfortable, like a normal house,” Scott says.

“It’s simple to operate and comfortable to live in.”

And even better, the Net-Zero home creates all the energy it consumes on an annual basis through its innovative use of photovoltaic energy, solar thermal energy and eco-friendly technologies.

But even with the space-age sounding extras, Ald. Bob Hawkesworth says the home is perfectly livable, and serves as a reminder to home buyers of just what’s possible in modern home design.

“One home may seem like a small step, but when you think about it, that’s how real change happens — with one small step,” he says.

“I see not just Calgary’s first Net-Zero home, I see the future it represents.”

FAST FACTS BUILDER: Avalon Master Builder AREA: Currently at SAIT, moving to McKenzie Towne this spring. PRICE: $550,000 including lot, landscaping and double-car garage. DIRECTIONS: Take 16 Ave. to 12 St. N.W. Turn into SAIT campus. Turn right at traffic circle and follow to Discovery 4 House. HOURS: Monday to Thursday, 4 to 8 p.m., weekends and holidays, noon to 5 p.m. CONTACT: For information, visit

Zap the Energy Sappers

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Is your home full of ” slow leaks” when it comes to energy? In fact electricity could be draining out of your outlets through appliances on standby, slumbering adaptors or any gadget with a clock, timer or remote control.

This is know as “phantom load” and can account for as much as 10% of the energy bill in a typical home.

The good news: zapping these energy sappers is fairly easy.

– PULL THE PLUG: Try to unplug any appliances and electronics you can. A Power bar lets you easy turn off several at once. Unplug rechargers and power cords as soon as they’ve done their job.

– USE THE OFF SWITCH: Use the sleep setting instead of the screen saver while you’re working on your computer. and then shut it down completely where you’re done for the day. Remember to switch off your monitor and printer , as well as the DVD player, video game console and set-top box. along with the TV

-UPDATE YOUR APPLIANCES: When Making new purchases, look for products with the ENERGY STAR symbol. Which use less energy in standby mode!

6 Ways to Spruce UP your home for under $1000!

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Whether you;re getting ready to sell or just want a quick pick-me-up, these decorating ticks- which can be done for under $1,000 –  will turn your place from drab to fab!

1 – PAINT- It’s no wonder painting is on the top three paybacks for resale value. A fresh coat makes any room or home look new and pristine. Try warm grey for a contemporary update, lighten up with a classic beige, or paint once wall a crisp – bold color for an accent wall!

 2 – DEFINE YOUR COULOUR SCHEME – Choose a colour scheme and edit your things to work within it. Aim to have one or two main colours, or stick to a single colour family plus one accent colour to “pop”. No eye for colour? Study a couple of home decor magazines for inspiration

 3 – EDIT YOUR ACCESSORIES – Clear a room of everything except for the furniture, carpeting & curtains. After leaving it for a day or two, bring in accessories one at a time- either stuff you have of something new. Try throw cushions, a statement- making collection of vases( groups of three or five works best), or a piece of art. Don’t add too much, and store the rest to rotate in later.

 4 – REFRESH TIRED FURNISHINGS –  Shampoo upholstery and carpeting. Reupholster a worn couch, or invest in slip covers. If there’s a piece your really don’t like, give it away and replace with something you love. Treat solid hardwood with furniture oil/ polish.

 5 – REPLACE FIXTURES – FAUCETS & HANDLES – Updating kitchen and bathroom taps for a more contemporary design will make the whole room look better. Change cupboard  pulls to brushed chrome/nickel. Cover door knobs to lever-style handles. For the best results use a consistent style throughout your home.

 6 -LIGHT UP YOUR SURROUNDINGS – Throw a little light on the subject – your home – to instantly refresh it. You can illuminate dark corers for a warmer cheerier atmosphere. While recessed  lighting is attractive, its also costly. To economize, add track lighting  to hallways or bedrooms, scones in a vestibule, and new table and floor lamps in the living/dining room.

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