Net Zero Energy Ready Homes | Ecology Action Centre

Net Zero Energy Ready Homes

A Net Zero Energy Ready (NZER) Home is one that is as energy efficient as possible, and ready for the addition of solar panels or other renewables to bring it to Net Zero. It is more environmentally and financially responsible to build a home to be super energy efficient than to build a conventional home and add a large amount of renewable energy like solar. 


A home should be as efficient as possible before renewable energy is added. The Canadian Government has mandated that by 2030 all new homes and buildings must be built to NZER Standards.


Some examples of Net Zero Energy Ready home characteristics include:

  • A super-air sealed building envelope

  • More insulation

  • Reduced thermal bridging

  • Thicker windows and doors

  • Larger windows in strategic locations for passive heating 

  • Roof overhangs designed to maximize Winter light and avoid overheating in the Summer

  • Technologies for efficient temperature control and water heating

These small changes help create a healthy, comfortable building and big energy savings!

Benefits of a Net Zero Energy Ready Home:

  • It’s better for the environment. Housing accounts for 16% of Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions*. Home efficiency is thus one of the best ways to lower our energy usage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We waste about 60% of the energy used in our homes!


  • It’s better for your health: Unlike conventional houses that “breathe” by allowing moisture to pass through the walls and create mold, a Net Zero Energy Ready home uses mechanical ventilation. Mechanical ventilation filters air before pumping it into the home. This means less dirty air that travels through the wall and more clean air from outside.


  • It’s more comfortable: Does your home have some rooms that are much colder than others, or feel chilly all winter long, even with the heat on? Due to thoughtful design including placement of windows, roof overhangs, and air tightness, NZER homes maintain temperature throughout the home and throughout the seasons. That means a cool home in the summer and a warm, cozy home in the winter.


  • It’s better for your energy bill: NZER homes are designed to reduce energy use, which means they cost less to heat. Energy bills are up to 80% lower than for a conventional home.


  • It’s better for your wallet: With a NZER home designed with smart energy management in mind, you start saving money the moment you move in. Even with a higher mortgage, the energy bill and maintenance savings mean that as soon as you move in, you’re already paying less on a NZER home than you would with a conventional home.


Interested in learning more about NZER homes or want help getting started on building your own? Contact Emma or Ben from the Ecology Action Centre Energy Team, or call 902.442.0199


 See this resource by Efficiency Nova Scotia for more information on Net Zero Ready.


*NRCan, Energy Use Data Handbook, August 2006; Secondary Energy Use and GHG Emissions, Residential Sector, 2004.