David Dodge, GreenEnergyFutures.ca
An earthship is an off-grid home that produces its own energy, captures its own water, treats its own wastewater, grows its own food and passively collects the sun's energy for heat. That's the idea, anyways. But ever since the Kinney Earthship was built in the summer of 2014, Duncan Kinney has received many emails about one particular subject: how does it hold up so far north?
It's a beautiful, livable, functional net-zero experiment -- welcome to the home of architect Shafraaz Kaba. Sitting on a corner lot, at the top of the bank of the North Saskatchewan River, the home is a tall and narrow three-story home with solar modules and a flat roof.
Building a net-zero home is an intricate dance between design, technology and location. But if you build a net-zero home in the wilds, far from your work, school and entertainment, with no infrastructure and an hour-long commute how sustainable is it?
Over the course of a year a net-zero home will generate as much energy as it consumes. They've been around for less than 10 years, but these buildings and the thinking behind them are taking North America by storm.
A passive solar greenhouse in Invermere B.C. is making people across the continent sit up and takes notice. What is a passive solar greenhouse? Don't they already use the sun's energy? Well, yes, but with the traditional Dutch glass box greenhouse design all that heat leaves once the sun goes down.
The Ancient Pueblo peoples got free heating and cooling at the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings in what's now Colorado and they did it without electricity, insulation, natural gas, air conditioning or modern building techniques. Contrast that with modern homes built in Edmonton, Vancouver or Toronto today.