Self-sufficient homes pitched at conference

Developers made pitches to contractors to build self-sufficient homes at the Low Energy Housing Conferenceheld Thursday in Sussex.

Homes cost about $42,000 more than market value

Developers made pitches to contractors to build self-sufficient homes at the Low Energy Housing Conference held Thursday in Sussex.

These self-sufficient homes are called net-zero homes because they produce their own energy source.

Tom Black, the vice-president of EcoPlusHome, said utility bills would disappearing within a year because the homes use solar panels for electricity, thermal panels to heat water and a geo-thermal pump to heat a home.

However, the homes are not cheap. Building the homes costs about $42,000 more than market value.

But for the long-term homeowners, the equipment would pay for itself, Black said, not to mention the added benefit to the environment.

"Over a course of 25 years, the carbon that you're saving is equivalent to taking ... 500 cars off the road," he told CBC News.

The provincial government offers incentives through Efficiency NB to energy efficient homes like the ones Black pitched – with more than $7,500 in rebates — but still less than a quarter of the cost.

"It's not uncommon to have 15 and 25-year mortgages. If your investment will pay back in that time period, that sort of makes sense," said Joe Waugh, energy advisor for Efficiency NB.

So far eight net-zero homes have been put on the market in Bathurst while developments in Fredericton and Moncton are underway.