Sustainable Living Redefined: Edmonton Home Net-Zero Retrofit


The transformation of an Edmonton home into a net-zero energy dwelling has redefined the standards for residential sustainability. Spearheaded by the homeowner, this 1996-built property underwent an extensive overhaul, achieving a remarkable transition to net-zero energy status. Facilitated by the expertise of Shield Windows and Doors and incorporating Duxton’s high-performance solutions, along with advanced mechanical improvements, the project not only minimized but entirely neutralized the house’s ecological impact, setting a new benchmark in the pursuit of a greener future.

Unveiling Efficiency Through Innovation

At the outset, the home faced significant energy losses, with initial EnerGuide Canada evaluations showing a total energy consumption of 206 gigajoules (GJ) per year, predominantly used for heating and cooling. A startling 45% of this energy, approximately 69.53 GJ/year, was lost through inefficient windows and doors. The retrofit addressed these inefficiencies head-on, leveraging the latest in window technology to improve the air tightness and R-value of the building’s envelope. This is the golden rule in energy retrofits: attack the building envelope first, and the mechanical systems second. It’s better to conserve as much energy as possible, and then calculate the loads in your newly improved envelope.

Windows and Doors: The Cornerstone of Change

Duxton’s FiberWall™ 658 Fixed Series windows and doors, featuring LiteZone glass, were chosen for their unparalleled insulating properties. The original double-pane units, with a U-value estimated at 2.8 W/m2K, were replaced with six-pane (yes, you read that right!) LiteZone assemblies with suspended film, boasting an overall U-value of 0.38 W/m2K (COG). 

Due to a smaller pocket size for the glass in operable (venting) windows, the LiteZone glass was too thick to use, so the homeowner selected Cardinal’s triple pane units with two Low-E’s and argon gas fill. They achieved an overall U-value of 1.02 W/m2K, further enhancing the home’s thermal performance. Similarly, swinging doors are still too narrow to accommodate thicker LiteZone units, so the homeowner chose Cardinal’s triple pane double Low-E glass plus multi-point locks to ensure the tightest air seal possible.

Mechanical Upgrades: Completing the Sustainability Puzzle

Complementing the window and door upgrades, adding a geothermal heating system and solar panels marked a significant step towards net-zero energy consumption. These systems, designed for efficiency and durability, supported the home’s transition from fossil fuels, aligning with the broader goal of sustainable living.

A Testament to Sustainable Living

The retrofit’s meticulous attention to detail and commitment to sustainability culminated in its selection for the 2024 Edmonton Eco-Solar Home Tour. This recognition highlights the home’s innovative approach to energy efficiency and serves as an example for the Edmonton community, demonstrating the practicality and benefits of net-zero living.

Impact and Inspiration

Post-retrofit, the home’s total energy consumption saw a dramatic shift, now using 0 gigajoules of energy annually . The substantial improvement in window and door U-values provides a quantifiable measure of success. By focusing on these critical components of the building envelope, this net-zero home has set a precedent for energy efficiency, reducing its energy loss via windows and doors by a factor of 6 or more than 80%.

Interior Comfort & Humidity

“The window frames and LiteZone glass are pretty impressive,” comments the homeowner. “At -38 degrees Celsius and 36% humidity, there is virtually no condensation on the windows”. With highly insulating windows, careful installation, and effective air circulation in the home, you can raise the interior humidity to more comfortable levels, even in very cold winter temperatures.  


The transformation of the Edmonton home described in this article embodies the synergy between visionary home ownership, technological innovation, and environmental stewardship. By integrating Duxton’s advanced window technologies and comprehensive mechanical upgrades, this project demonstrates that achieving a net-zero energy home is both feasible and impactful. As the net-zero dwelling prepares to showcase its achievements in the Edmonton Eco-Solar Home Tour, it stands as a profound example of sustainable living in action, inspiring a future where net-zero energy homes become the standard, not the exception.

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