Kristina & Scott
PV & Solar Thermal │ Roof Mount
Kristina and Scott set out to build a sustainable, simple, and modern home in northwest Calgary. Their goal was to build an efficient house that would use as little energy as possible, much less than the average Canadian home, and try to produce as much energy as it consumed, without doing anything that was completely out of the ordinary.
Some features of the home that contribute to its efficiency include: a small footprint; triple-glazed windows; ICF foundation; double-stud walls for increased insulation; passive solar gain in the winter through south facing windows and strategic shading for passive cooling in the summer; a drain water heat recovery system; low-flow shower heads, faucets and toilets; a high-efficiency wood stove; and a 7.0 kW PV system.
One of the house’s more unique features is the fact that it is all electric; there is no natural gas line. Additionally, the 45° pitch of the south-facing roof was designed to optimize the annual output of the PV panels. While the house performed well in the first few years, producing about 55 % of its total annual consumption, there was an empty spot of the roof that Kristina and Scott were sure could house another system that would get them closer to net-zero.
After consulting with Simple Solar, the couple went ahead with the installation of a three collector FREEDOM WON solar thermal system. The addition of the solar thermal system, and a few more PV panels on the garage, displaced approximately 15-20% of the house’s annual energy consumption, and the house can now produce about 75% of the total demand. The house and its occupants use less than half the energy of an average Canadian home.
One of the biggest contributors to the efficiency and low energy needs of the home, in addition to the PV and solar thermal systems, are the family’s daily behaviours regarding energy consumption. These include simple things like cold water washes, air drying laundry, wearing sweaters when it’s cold, and taking short showers. The PV and solar thermal systems are nice, but the couple is quick to point out that energy consumption is very much behaviour dependent and they make a point of reducing consumption as well as increasing production.
"We're happy with the home's performance and enjoy the negligible energy bills every month!
See how Kristina and Scott use their FREEDOM WON system
Kristina and Scott's FREEDOM WON system transfers the heat generated by the sun to a storage tank where it's used for domestic purposes and to heat the basement via in-floor heating. A high-efficiency wood stove can provide additional heat if required. The system's flat plate collectors blend in with the surrounding PV panels, resulting in a system that's both powerful and pleasing to the eye. Our patented FREEDOM WON technology ensures reliable operation with no regular maintenance, and the off-grid aspect enables the displacement of power from the grid, unlike the PV system which is grid-connected and therefore beholden to certain regulatory constraints.