Net-zero energy homes: well-designed and/or eco-friendly?

Three net-zero energy homes, homes that produce as much energy as they consume, were recently built in a well-off Edmonton suburb. The description of the homes leads me to ask: are these homes both well-built and eco-friendly?

Well lit with large, south-facing windows, the feature home offers a simple yet refined open plan for the kitchen/main room where the festivities were held.

In each room, labels here and there denoted the latest eco-friendly features and breakthrough methods of energy and resource efficiency. Particularly notable were the 75-cm thick walls, especially designed to provide insulation for Edmonton’s chilly winters.

Although not excessive in size, the house is open and spacious and has all the amenities needed for a modern lifestyle.

As Boman described to the assembled guests, one of the great appeals of the home is the sense of place that comes with it. It is “not another McMansion,” she quipped.

I’m very intrigued by the quote at the end of the above excerpt: it suggests that the homes are nice and eco-friendly. It would be interesting to hear more about the particular architectural details of these houses and how much they differ from homes that are built as part of larger subdivisions. The quote suggests the homes are known for being better quality, places rather than spaces in urban sociology terms, in strong contrast to McMansions. On the other hand, the homes have a lot of green features. Going green doesn’t necessarily make it a well-designed or a quality house. If you pull these two ideas apart, is a ugly or mass-produced green house better or worse than a beautifully designed but wasteful house? Which of these qualities are more important and how do builders and architects have to balance these two to sell such homes?

Apparently there is some momentum for these homes – see my post last week about the cost of net-zero energy homes.

3 thoughts on “Net-zero energy homes: well-designed and/or eco-friendly?

  1. Pingback: One way to destroy the planet: “heat a McMansion” | Legally Sociable

  2. Pingback: Five kinds of new houses that are non-McMansions | Legally Sociable

  3. Pingback: American homes are bigger again but now more energy efficient | Legally Sociable

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