Official Opening of Riverdale NetZero EQuilibrium(TM) Demonstration House in Edmonton, Alberta

    EDMONTON, Sept. 5 /CNW/ - Today, Peter Goldring, Member of Parliament for
Edmonton East, on behalf of the Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Human
Resources and Social Development, and Minister responsible for CMHC announced
that the Riverdale NetZero Project will officially open in October 2008. This
energy-efficient and environmentally responsible house will be the second
EQuilibrium(TM) house to open in Alberta.
    The demonstration home was built in Edmonton by a team led by Habitat
Studio and Workshop Ltd., as part of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's
(CMHC) EQuilibrium(TM) Sustainable Housing Demonstration Initiative, which
encourages builders and developers to build the next generation of sustainable
housing in Canada.
    "The Government of Canada is proud to work with innovative private-sector
partners, such as Habitat Studio and Workshop Ltd., to develop environmentally
responsible homes," said MP Goldring. "The Riverdale NetZero Project gives
people in Edmonton an opportunity to see first-hand the next generation of
healthy, sustainable housing in Canada."
    EQuilibrium(TM) demonstration homes are designed to be healthy to live
in, produce as much energy as they consume on an annual basis, and have very
low environmental impact. Under the leadership of Habitat Studio & Workshop
Ltd, Solnorth Engineering Ltd. and Howell Mayhew Engineering Inc., a team of
40 Edmonton-area experts have built a duplex that is designed to surpass the
net zero energy goal. This was achieved by aggressively reducing energy
consumption for space heating, water heating, lighting and appliances. These
homes use roughly a quarter of the total energy used by equivalent
conventional homes. The active solar thermal systems provide 64 per cent of
the space heating and 93 percent of the water heating. The grid-connected
solar photovoltaic system provides all of the homes' electricity for lighting
and appliances, as well as the remaining space and water heating.
    "When we first started this project, I thought that net zero energy
buildings in our climate were barely possible," says Peter Amerongen,
president of Habitat Studio. "Thanks to this incredible team and with the help
of CMHC's leadership, we've managed to whittle our way down to zero with a
group of strategies that are, for the most part, quite practical. The extra
costs are not insignificant, but from the extensive modeling we did for this
project and the practical lessons we've learned from building it, we're seeing
some of those costs coming down for the next net zero houses that we are
    The Riverdale NetZero Project is one of 12 projects that won CMHC's
national EQuilibrium(TM) sustainable housing competition in 2007 and are now
turning their design concepts into real homes. All EQuilibrium(TM) homes will
be open for public and professional audiences for demonstration, and then
monitored for performance by CMHC for one year, once occupied.
    CMHC's EQuilibrium(TM) Sustainable Housing Demonstration Initiative
provides a new approach to housing in Canada, representing a fundamental
change in the way Canadians think about their homes. It strives to balance our
housing needs with those of the environment. It brings together - under one
roof - the principles of occupant health and comfort, energy efficiency,
renewable energy production, resource and water conservation, and reduced
environmental impact.
    CMHC has worked closely with many stakeholders to develop and deploy
EQuilibrium(TM). In particular, CMHC has collaborated closely with Natural
Resources Canada which has contributed substantial research and development
expertise and resources to advancing this initiative.

    As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 60 years of
experience to help Canadians access a variety of quality, environmentally
sustainable, and affordable homes - homes that will continue to create vibrant
and healthy communities and cities across the country. For more information,
call 1-800-668-2642.

For further information:

For further information: Lesley Harmer, Director of Communications,
Office of the Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Human Resources and Social
Development, (819) 994-2482; Carol Mulley, Marketing Principal, CMHC, (403)
515-2997 - office, (403) 585-9317 - cell

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