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What's a net-zero home? Take a tour to find out

Forty solar panels, double-wide insulation, rain-water collection and more: find out how the builders created a home that they say produces as much energy as it uses.

Mattamy Homes and partners get help from $4M government fund to sponsor 25 net-zero homes across Canada

Calgary has its newest net-zero home — one that's built to produce as much energy as it uses annually.

"On a net basis we're not taking energy from the system," said Don Barrineau, the Calgary division president of Mattamy Homes, the builder behind the eco-friendly house.

The 1658-square-foot home is in the northeast Calgary community of Cityscape. It features 40 roof-top solar panels, triple-pane windows and an energy monitoring system home-owners can track on an iPad.

"The consumer would still have a monthly electric bill, but they'll also generate energy and at the end of the year they'll have created as much as they'll have used," said Barrineau.

The power the home produces can be sold back to the grid, he added. The builder plans to construct a total of five net-zero homes in Calgary by March 2016.

Company to absorb extra costs of construction

The house has LED lighting to reduce power consumption and rainwater from gutters and downspouts is collected in barrels for landscaping.

The insulation is about twice as thick as what it would be in a typical home.

"The key to a net-zero home, to making it more affordable, is to conserve first then generate what's needed," said Andy Goyda, who is with Owens Corning Canada, an insulation company and proponent of the project.

Building a net-zero home costs $30,000 to $50,000 more than a standard house, said Barrineau. But the company will absorb most of those costs.

The homebuilder and its partners are getting help from a $4-million federal government fund set up to sponsor 25 net-zero homes in Alberta, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec.

"The consumers, they want a more energy efficient home, they want a tighter home, they want a healthier home and I think they'll respond well to this," said Barrineau.

The show home will be open to the public this weekend.

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