Through our partners ROCY now offers PV Solar, Solar Thermal, and Geothermal Heating and Cooling solutions for your dream home. Imagine your beautiful, luxury home with almost no utility bills.
ROCY and Sound Solar Systems were recently featured in a Fine Homes magazine article "Solar Powered Homes That Last".
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Sustainable Way of Life
As part of ROCY's philosophy of longevity, we are always adding new technologies to our homebuilding portfolio. ROCY can now offer clients a more sustainable way of life. We offer clients anything from a fully self-sustaining home to a home that is simply designed "solar ready" for a future investment.
Adding solar alternatives reduces or even cuts the need for traditional power, which is especially important since SaskPower will be introducing a 10.5 per cent rate increase over the next two years.
Not Your Average Home, 424 Nicklaus Drive
From the outside it doesn't look much different than the other luxury houses in The Legends neighborhood in Warman. But the $1.5 million ROCY-built showhome at 424 Nicklaus Drive is very different on the inside – particularly in the mechanical room.
For one thing, there is no furnace. What looks like conventional heating and cooling equipment is actually a nine-ton (4 ton forced air unit, 5 ton water to water unit) vertical loop geothermal heating and cooling system.
Two Solar Edge Inverters on another wall convert Direct Current (DC) to Alternating Current (AC) power generated from the 13kW PV net-metering solar array located on the roof. Any excess power that the home does not consume is returned to the SaskPower grid via a bi-directional meter and credited to the home's account. The SaskPower contract pays out .11 cents per kwh. The goal is that the Solar Array will produce as much power as the home consumes, thus a net-zero power utility cost. ROCY President and owner, David Dyck, says there's about $100,000 worth of renewable energy equipment in the house.
Geothermal heating and cooling features a vertical closed ground loop installed adjacent to the house. The house on Nicklaus Drive has 18 holes 120 feet deep in the back yard. These holes have continuous pipes going in and coming out, which are then fused together 5 feet below the rear yard surface with two lines coming into the house and two lines going out.
"These pipes capture energy in a heat transfer process which heats the liquid brine in the pipes and through a series of pumps brings it back into the house at 105 degrees F in winter and summer. The equipment in the house then distributes the heating and cooling throughout the house," Dyck explains.
At 424 Nicklaus Drive, the geothermal system provides forced air heating and cooling as well as in-floor heating for the entire basement, all tiled areas, and the garage.
The geothermal system can eliminate a home's reliance on natural gas completely. However, the ROCY showhome has two natural gas fireplaces, rough-ins for a gas stove or range, gas clothes dryer, barbecue, fire table on the deck, and patio heater on the lower patio.
The home boasts minimal utility bills, thanks also to other energy efficiencies such as 1.5 inch exterior rigid insulation, triple pane with Low E+ argon windows, and upgraded R value insulation.
The custom-built house is also a very functional and well-designed family home. Using renewable energy sources only minimally impacts the design of the home. With 2,172 square feet of space, the home proves that pragmatic doesn't have to mean plain. The fully developed lower level includes a walk-out basement with custom-built bar, fireplace, and additional living spaces.
Dyck says the orientation is critical to getting optimum southern exposure for the solar PV panels to produce as much power as possible. "Lot location, shading from trees, neighboring structures, and roof pitch are factors as well in designing a solar array with maximum production."
Still, for many the most compelling feature of the home will be the next-to-nothing utility bills.
Dyck says the first question he gets from prospective owners is how long it will take to earn back that investment.
"For me it's about more than just payback," says Dyck. "Home owners need to think about the fact that we should consider investing in renewables as an option."
That's something the Saskatchewan Government is hoping to encourage as well. in 2015, the Saskatchewan Government announced a commitment to getting 50 percent of its power from renewable sources of energy by 2030. That's more than double the current percentage the province gets from renewables. The government has several wind, hydro and geothermal projects planned, but to encourage small projects (like homes) the government has offered a 20 percent rebate on the total costs of installing a Solar System.
So despite the up front costs, it's the long term savings and the sustainable legacy that is important to Dyck.
"There is no doubt that utility costs will increase in Saskatchewan in the future, anything we can do to offset these increases will be a benefit to homeowners, not to mention the significant impact on a cleaner environment by accessing renewables," says Dyck.
Currently, Dyck has built a few homes with renewable energy sources, but he hopes to do more.
At the moment the high end custom market seems to be the only market that can easily afford the significant costs of installing these systems. Unfortunately, according to Dyck, they are often the least likely to have conversations about energy efficiency or renewable energy sources as they can more easily absorb the higher utility bills. It is up to homebuilders like ROCY to educate them on their options.