Welcome HOME
About Us Sponsors Definitions
& Links

and Links

The Eco-Solar Tour


Our 2018 Sponsors!

Gold Sponsors
The City sponsors the Eco-Solar Tour as part of their Change for Climate.
Change for Climate

3 Leafs Homes.
3 Leafs Homes

Silver Sponsors
A De Waal home is a home for life.
De Waal Developments

Landmark Homes.
Landmark Homes

Always there, anywhere

Habitat-Studio built the first net zero homes in Edmonton and has been part of the Eco-Solar tour for 15 years.
Habitat Studio

Net Zero Developments
Net Zero Developments


Bronze Sponsors
Rosecrest has been building energy efficient homes in Edmonton for over 30 years.
Rosecrest Homes

Skyfire has installed some of the largest and most complex photovoltaic systems in Western Canada.
Skyfire Energy

Your Power, Our Future.
Effect Homes

Your Power, Our Future.
Solar Society of Alberta

Your Power, Our Future.
Energy Efficiency Alberta

Thanks to UCE for meeting and storage space.
Unitarian Church of Edm

Thanks to Sunridge for performing the Energuide assessments.
Sunridge Residential


Here are some videos of homes that will be on this year's tour.

Visit 21 Inspiring green buildings on Eco-Solar Home Tour
26 April 2018

Canada's first net-zero church and social housing project
29 January 2018

Evansdale Community League: Making solar look easy
27 Nov 2015

Carbon Neutral Laneway Home
29 Feb 2016


Here are some definitions that may help you understand how we refer to energy efficient homes and buildings. Some of these definitions may still be open for debate however to be clear these are the definitions in use on the Eco-Solar Tour. These are definitions of common practice and do not take into account all practices and situations.


There are two Energuide systems currently in use. The previous version gave a home a score out of 100. The new Energuide label estimates the amount of energy a home will use in GJ/year (gigajoules/year). The old system rating the home out of 100 with 100 being the best. In the new consumption based system a net zero energy home would consume a net amount of 0 GJ/year. In the new system the lower the number the more efficient the home.
Energuide Rating System version 15
See the Video

Energuide assessments were provided by Sunridge Residential with funding from the City of Edmonton.



A net-zero energy (NZE) home is one that is designed and constructed to produce as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis.

A solar-electric-system generates electric energy for the house and over the year the kilowatt-hours of electric energy exported to the grid equals the kilowatt-hours of electric energy imported from the grid. A NZE house is always connected to the electric grid. In the winter more electricity is imported than exported and in the summer more is exported than imported -- the net result over the year should be roughly zero kilowatt hours.

Since the roof size available is limited a NZE house must naturally reduce its energy consumption dramatically so that the size of the solar-electric system is practical. This always starts with exceptional insulation (in the range of R50 or higher), triple-glazed windows, and significant attention to all aspects of the building envelope.

A NZE house also must have a method of collecting heat in the winter. Heat gain methods can include large windows for passive solar space heating, solar thermal collectors for domestic hot water, or other solar thermal air-heating technologies. A NZE house always starts as an ultra-efficient house so that the size of the solar-electric system can be fit onto the available roof space.

NZE houses still pay for electricity utilities. Electric service and the delivery of electric energy will still be present even though the net kilowatt-hours over the year are zero. A NZE house will not typically use natural gas because of the large fees for connecting to the gas grid. Some NZE houses choose to include a wood stove for comfort and additional energy security however a wood stove is "input energy" that is not included in the NZE calculations. A house that uses external energy from wood, natural gas, or propane is only a NZE house if the solar-electric system exports to the electric grid an amount of energy equal to this external energy source.

In the new Energuide rating system an NZE house would have a rating of 0 GJ/year.


A net-zero energy ready (NZER) home is one that is designed and constructed to deliver similar energy performance as a NZE home but has not yet installed the on-site renewable energy generation capacity needed to achieve NZE performance.

The most common NZER type of house is an ultra-efficient house that would become NZE with the addition of a suitably-sized solar-electric system. Often an NZER house will have the insulation and passive solar features included and be pre-wired for a solar system. The cost of the solar-electric system is left until later when budgets permit.

A true NZER house is one where the required solar-electric system to achieve the NZE goal is of a size that will practically fit on the house. Occasionally we see incorrect claims of NZER where the required solar-electric system would be impracticably large.


A Near-Net-Zero-Energy (NNZ) House is one that has an Energuide rating that is greater than 90, but less than 100. It will be ultra-efficient; it might collect heat through passive solar, solar thermal, geothermal or air thermal. It might also generate some of its own solar electricity but for any of many reasons it does not achieve the NZE goal. NNZ houses may not have enough space for a full-sized solar-electric system; they may be in a shaded area; or they may have other impediments to generating a net-zero amount of electricity.


A combined heat and power unit is a gas-fired generator that creates heat while it generates electricity. By harvesting electricity from the generation of heat the unit can be made more efficient. Most CHP units are used for heating with the electricity as a byproduct. When there is a demand for heat the CHP unit starts and during its operation will supply its rated electricity as well as heat. An mCHP unit is a micro CHP and is a smaller version.


An Electrically Independent Home is one that generates all of it's electricity on site. It is not connected to the electrical grid; it is electrically independent. An EIH will use some other form of energy to create its own electricity. Typically this will include a generator of some kind such as a Combined Heat and Power unit (a small natural gas generator; see CHP) as well as solar and some form of energy storage.


An Energy Efficient (EE) House is one that has an Energuide rating that is greater than 80, but less than 90. It may feature any number of energy efficient features that will be highlighted on our tour. Energy efficient houses usually have a well insulated building envelope and typically have highly efficient windows. An EE house will usually rely on an external source of energy for heat such as gas, oil, wood, or propane.

In our definitions an EE house is usually one where an external source of energy is used for heat. In order to take an EE house to a NNZ or NZE status you would need to add enough solar collectors (electric or thermal) to offset most (NNZ) or all (NZE) of the annual external energy consumed.


A Standard Construction (SC) House is one that was built to the local standards of construction in the era in which it was constructed. It could have an Energuide as low as 40 (1950's construction), or above 72. A house built to the current minimum building code requirements would have an Energuide rating of between 65 and 72. We feature standard construction homes on our tour when the homeowner has done some interesting upgrades to improve the energy efficiency of their home or has added and interesting technology such as a solar system.

We may list a home as SC if an Energuide rating is not available or if we can't determine if the house will fit into any of our other categories.