Vernon’s Clean Energy Pilot: A Groundbreaking Step Towards a Greener Future

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Vernon BC clean energy neighbourhood pilot

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Big news coming out of Vernon, BC, where a pioneering clean energy neighbourhood pilot is setting new standards in sustainability.

HomeZero Collective, a fantastic local nonprofit, has taken the lead in what could be the first project of its kind in Canada.

They’ve retrofitted 11 homes with cutting-edge clean energy systems, aiming to slash carbon emissions by a whopping 85 to 100 percent!

A Community Effort

Scott Steward of Ground Source Drilling and Amandeep Singh
Scott Steward of Ground Source Drilling and Amandeep Singh, credit Wayne Emde

Last summer, HomeZero Collective reached out to the community, seeking homeowners willing to dive into the world of clean energy.

The response? Overwhelmingly positive!

Eleven households stepped up, eager to retrofit their homes with geothermal or air source heat pumps, hybrid electric hot water tanks, solar panels, and EV charging outlets.

Imagine turning your home into a beacon of sustainability. That’s precisely what these folks have done!

In May, the first home kicked off the project with geothermal heat pumps and solar panels. By early August, ten of the eleven homes—nestled in East Hill and Foothills—will be fully equipped and running on clean energy.

The Heart of HomeZero

Okanagan geothermal workers, credit Wayne Emde
Okanagan geothermal workers, credit Wayne Emde

“Getting these homes retrofitted is a big step for our model and for the homeowners,” shares Amandeep Singh, the visionary founder of HomeZero Collective.

“People are keenly aware of the impact of climate change and want to do their part.”

And what a part they’re playing!

The journey began last fall with the selection of participants. HomeZero guided them through the maze of choosing the right packages and applying for the Greener Homes Loan and rebates.

They also coordinated with local heroes—Okanagan Geothermal, Ground Source Drilling, Okanagan Solar, and SkyFire Energy—to make sure everything was seamless.

Making It Feasible and Affordable

“We wanted to handle all the details,” says Singh.

And handle them, they did. Singh spearheaded a feasibility study with Falcon Engineering to show how a collective approach can reduce costs and ensure top-notch quality.

Thanks to additional funding from the Green Municipal Fund and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), these retrofits became more affordable.

The result? Homes powered by clean energy, and homeowners who can proudly say they’re doing their part for the planet.

A Bright Future

Solar panels being installed, credit Wayne Emde
Solar panels being installed, credit Wayne Emde

Leith Skinner, one of the enthusiastic homeowners, is ready to switch on his 30 solar panels.

“We’re hopeful that if we’re careful, the solar will give us nearly all of our electrical energy,” he says.

“Looking at the weather we’ve had, we felt we need to do some things to help Mother Nature out. Some people might think it’s such a big problem, what difference can I make? But a whole bunch of small acts can make a big difference.”

Leith’s home is also fitted with a new cold climate air source heat pump, which works efficiently even in temperatures as low as -15°C.

Seven homeowners chose air source heat pumps, while four opted for geothermal heat pumps.

Eyes on Vernon

Vernon’s pilot project has caught the attention of many organizations and municipalities.

Everyone’s keen to learn from HomeZero and see how they can replicate this success in their communities.

“We’re looking forward to sharing results with the community as well as what this means for Vernon overall and what else could be possible when we come together for a project like this,” Singh adds.

Learn More

Curious to learn more about this groundbreaking project?

Tune into the webinar ‘Decarb Lunch: HomeZero Clean Energy Retrofits in Vernon’ on Friday, June 28 at 12 pm, hosted by ZEB’x (Zero Emissions Building Exchange).

  • Luke Rooks

    Luke is a passionate environmental advocate based in upstate New York. When he's not sharing tips on sustainability and wellness, you can find him hiking with his dog, Max.

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