Founder of Solar Homes Inc., Peter Darlington, has been working in the construction industry, specifically on home exteriors and building envelope, for the past 20 years. For 16 of those years, he ran his own company, Peter's Exterior Contracting. In 2014, Peter took interest in net-zero energy homes (homes that take advantage of renewable resource to generate as much energy as they consume). This led him to become a Certified Passive House Consultant and begin his new endeavour, Solar Homes Inc., by renovating his own home in September of 2015.
After a year's worth of monitoring, Peter was proud to announce that the solar panels on his garage roof actually produced slightly more energy than he and his family had consumed in their home. Amazingly, this energy powered his entire home including lighting, appliances, electrical outlets, hot water heating, as well as space heating and cooling.
As of April 2018, Peter is a proud owner of a 2014 Chevy Volt. After finishing the planned installation of additional solar panels on Peter's home, this vehicle will be solar-powered and carbon-neutral. As a result, Peter expects to save a total of $4,000 to $5,000 per year on energy costs (home energy plus vehicle fuel).
Net-Zero Energy Retrofit
Solar Homes Inc.'s first project was the renovation of founder Peter Darlington's mid-1980s built single-family home. Net-zero energy status was reached by installing proper insulation, high-performing windows, energy efficient mechanical equipment and appliances, as well as a solar array on top of Peter's new garage.
Air tightness rating of 1.0 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals (ACH50)
Air-source heat pumps (for air and hot water heating)
Heat recovery ventilation
10.2 kW grid-tied solar array
Bidirectional ENMAX electrical meter
Modular Residential Building on Agricultural property
Water Valley, AB
This project involved the construction of a modular home on an agricultural property. It includes a solar array used to power the home heating system and power outlets, as well as the outlets in the nearby workshop (already in place). The home's heating was provided by a geothermal system with combination forced air and radiant heat.
Seasonally adjustable 20 kW solar array
Ground loop geothermal system
Staggered stud wall construction
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