The Future of Energy
District energy systems have operated in North America for more than a century — the first were steam-driven! — and are increasingly seen as a strategy for heating and cooling in a carbon-constrained world.
Flexibility is a big advantage. Blatchford’s district energy sharing system can be made bigger to meet demand. It can also incorporate multiple renewables with the added benefit of energy sharing. Commercial buildings that need cooling, for instance, can heat homes in the same system, increasing overall efficiency by up to 20 percent.
In Edmonton, the University of Alberta owns and operates a district energy system to serve their greater campus area. Many other Canadian cities, universities and neighbourhoods also use district energy sharing systems.
Certified solar-ready trusses on peaked roofs enables the future installation of solar panels.
To reduce energy loss and to increase the airtightness in the home, windows must meet a high standard for energy-efficiency. Windows in Blatchford homes have a very low thermal transmittance value, which means they prevent heat loss to the outdoors better than a window that just meets the requirements outlined in the Alberta Building Code. Better windows mean residents will be more comfortable during the winter months, as the windows will reduce drafts and not radiate cold as much as a standard window.
Buildings in Blatchford have highly insulated walls, roofs AND basement floors because a well insulated home is the key to energy efficiency! Insulation reduces the amount of energy needed for heating and cooling and keeps the home at a comfortable temperature year round. Added bonus - insulation is also helpful for reducing outdoor noise pollution.
All major appliances will be Energy Star® rated to minimize energy used in the home.
Instead of using furnaces and air conditioners that rely on burning fossil fuels, Blatchford buildings will use heat pumps that rely on transferring energy. Heat pumps are the most efficient mechanical system for heating and cooling. A home heat pump produces 400% more energy than the electricity it consumes! In comparison, a traditional high-efficiency furnace operates at around 90% efficiency. The heat pumps are connected to the community’s District Energy Sharing System, which uses renewable energy sources including geoexchange and solar.
Homeowners will be able to minimize their energy use with advanced heating controls. Depending on what model the home builder chooses, these smart room thermostats can be programmable, self-adjusting, have occupancy detection and more.
Airtightness refers to how much air flows into and out of a building in areas that shouldn’t have air flow, such as your walls and around your window frames. The more airtight a building is, the better. The building will lose less heat, its ventilation system will be able to perform better, there will be less chance of unwanted moisture entering the home, and residents will have higher comfort (fewer temperature and humidity control issues). All Blatchford homes undergo a blower door test to confirm a level of airtightness which exceeds the minimum code required in new home construction.
Located in a home’s duct system, heat recovery ventilators help reduce pollutants and odours by replacing stale air with fresh warm air. HRVs also use the warm air that would normally be exhausted (vented) from your home to preheat incoming cold air to save energy. HRV systems that recover a minimum of 80% of the heat from exhaust air have been selected for Blatchford homes to reduce the energy required to heat the incoming fresh air.
Homeowners will have added peace of mind as air filtration systems reduce indoor pollutants.
Low-flow and water-efficient fixtures and appliances, like faucets, toilets, showerheads, dishwashers and washing machines, allow homeowners to reduce their water consumption.
Blatchford homes are some of the greenest in Canada, up to 37% more efficient than the current Alberta building code.
Blatchford has created custom building codes that all home builders in the neighbourhood follow, ensuring building features that provide good value are standard in all the homes.
Homes are well insulated with a tighter building envelope, triple-paned windows, smart thermostats, energy- and water-efficient appliances and low-flow fixtures.
A better building is more comfortable, air quality is better, and less energy and water is wasted.
The codes are built around 3 principles:
Buildings in Blatchford will have highly insulated walls, roofs and floors, high-performance windows and an airtight envelope to reduce heat loss.
Building energy systems will actively recapture any waste heat and efficiently consume energy through the use of heat recovery ventilators, sealed ductwork and variable speed pumps. Homeowners will be able to minimize their energy use with advanced heating controls.
SUSTAINABLE BUILDING FEATURES
The buildings will also feature water-efficient fixtures, water and energy efficient appliances and air filtration systems. Construction practices will reduce waste materials and air pollutants which can remain in the finished buildings.