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Wilden Living Lab welcomes public to view energy-efficient home of the future

Net zero home open Sunday

The public now has an opportunity to see the Next Generation of homes.

UBC Okanagan, Okanagan College, the Wilden Group, AuthenTech Homes and FortisBC launched the Wilden Living Lab project in 2016, constructing two homes side by side in the Wilden community.

One was called the Home of Today and was built to regular specifications and codes. The other, called the Home of Tomorrow, was constructed with advanced materials and systems that made it an energy efficient home.

The Wilden Living Lab collaboration has now built a third dwelling, called The Next Generation home. It was constructed using Step 5 specifications, which are the highest on the BC Energy Step Code. The public will now have a chance to see what that looks like starting on Sunday (Nov. 20). The Next Generation home will be open to the public for the next six months, Saturday through Thursday from 1-5 p.m., until May 18, 2023. It is located at 215 Echo Ridge Dr. in Kelowna.

The house features an airtight envelope, solar photovoltaic system, topnotch energy recovery and storage systems, and highly efficient mechanical systems. It will achieve net zero energy, meaning it will produce as much or more energy than it uses in a year.

“We’re excited to open this house to the community,” Wilden Group CEO Karin Eger-Blenk says. “We want people to come and walk through the home and learn that high energy-efficiency is attainable. For us, the Wilden Living Lab is a place where we can make home owners familiar with the benefits of a net-zero home and have new technologies tested out for them.

“The goal is to encourage everyone who’s building a home in Wilden or elsewhere to build to higher standards.”

Step 5 specifications will have to be incorporated into every new build in B.C. starting in 2032. This will be done by creating high insulation wall systems and airtight envelopes, energy efficient windows, mechanical systems that combine clean energy sources as well as heat and energy recovery.

“This project brings energy efficiency to life and is a great opportunity for the industry to demonstrate what a Step 5 and net zero home is all about,” FortisBC conservation and energy management program manager Carol Suhan says. “We want the community to come to the home to see, touch, feel and hear the benefits of the materials and techniques that contribute to a Step 5 home.

“This is a great opportunity for people to learn how energy efficient construction saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. It will help our customers make informed decisions when it comes to their home’s energy use, comfort and long-term affordability.”

The results from the first two Wilden Living Lab houses showed the Home of Tomorrow used 67% less energy and had 99.6% less carbon emissions than the regular abode.

Those who visit the Next Generation home will enjoy an interactive experience with several displays. There will be a Wilden Living Lab representative on hand to answer questions as well.

More information about Wilden Living Lab can be found here.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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