With the rise of improvements to the construction of buildings, more environmentally-friendly structures are being built now than ever before. And a new type of building has started to become more of a trend: net-zero buildings. A net zero building in British Columbia is a structure that has zero net energy consumption. Essentially, a building uses renewable energy sources to power that property’s systems, but the total use of electricity in that structure never exceeds the total power generated from renewable energy.
We explore how these buildings are being put into place in the Okanagan below.
Net Zero Building in British Columbia: West Kelowna Construction
Eco-friendly buildings are already coming to West Kelowna with a focus on zero net energy. For instance, A four-storey apartment building is being built by Highstreet in West Kelowna will be zero net energy with several additional features. It will have 100% electric systems and zero carbon emissions, 304 solar panels to power common areas, and triple-pane windows.
In a press release from Highstreet, the net zero building was even one of the winners of a CleanBC Better Buildings competition, which showcases best practices in building design.
The project goal is to have 1,000 homes built by the end of 2024.
Kelowna Plans for More Net Zero Buildings
Already, there are plans being made for more homes to be closer to net zero in the coming years with new legislation in place. Next year, as of June 1, 2021, new homes will have to be 20% more energy efficient than the current base. Additional plans are already in place to increase this to 80% by 2032.
Kelowna isn’t the only community adopting ”green” legislation to reduce environmental impacts. Cities like Penticton, Vernon, and districts of Summerland, Peachland and Lake Country are all either planning for similar changes or are working through the details of them right now.
While new housing will be slightly less affordable, the future energy and utility savings will be passed on to homeowners.
Greenhouse gas emissions are already approaching high levels, and with the devastation the last few years of wildfires and flooding have caused (especially in B.C.) more steps to save the environment are definitely welcome. Net zero buildings are a great way of reducing carbon footprints and providing a closer step to completely self-sustaining buildings.