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Lacombe County News published a little blurb on Sol Invictus this week! Check it out:

"Despite the smell of spring in the air, many of us haven’t forgotten the frigid polar vortex that made itself at home here in January and February. Chelsah Thomas, a Lacombe County resident (who also has her masters in environmental sciences), used the frigid temperatures to test out her “passive solar, net zero” demonstration house.
She has also been working closely with organizations like Energy Efficiency Alberta, Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Home Builders Association and Sunridge Residential to understand their programs, grants and other funding opportunities that could help homeowners in the area to upgrade their homes in positive ways..."

[Click below for full article]

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By: Deanna McArthur

At first glance, Chelsah Thomas seems like your everyday Albertan. The 34-year-old new mother lives in Red Deer with her husband Jesse, who has a background in construction.

Together, they built the home of their dreams, set against the river valley and surrounded by a thick patch of deciduous trees.

It only takes about five minutes with Chelsah before you get a feel for the passion, and depth of knowledge she has about energy efficiency and passive home construction…

[Click link below for full article]

The future of Alberta’s energy-efficiency industry is up in the air.  That has created uncertainty, says Caleb Schmidt, the owner of Red Deer’s Sunfind Solar Products Inc.  “Everything is unknown right now,” said Schmidt, adding he is waiting for more information from the new provincial government.  “We don’t know what’s going to happen.”  He has about 20 projects in Alberta in a limbo at the moment. A third of those are in central Alberta.  The former NDP government introduced energy efficiency programs that provide rebates to residential and commercial properties under the Residential and Commercial Solar Program.  A report from Energy Efficiency Alberta in October confirmed central Albertans embraced energy efficiency initiatives.  Red Deer had one of the highest per capita participation rates in the Residential No-Charge Energy Savings program, with one out of every 10 homes (a total of 4,778 residences) taking advantage.  The city was one of the top communities for participation in home improvement and online incentives, with 285 participants adding insulation, replacing windows, opting for drain water heat recovery or installing a tankless hot water heater.  If Premier Jason Kenney decides to scrap the rebates, there may be a short-term drop in people’s interest in the energy-efficiency programs, because Albertans look at both savings and the subsidies attached to the initiatives, Schmidt said.  “The rebates will definitely make a difference, but there are other factors, such as low energy prices, which also hinders our market,” he said, adding if the future is not favourable, it will impact his business.  “There are very few people who switch for the environmental reasons alone.  “The bottom line is there’s a ton of uncertainty – all the changes and everything is a bit frustrating right now, but that’s where we’re at.”  Another central Alberta business owner said the energy-efficiency movement has already started, regardless of what Kenney decides to do.  The Sol Invictus Energy Services co-owner in central Alberta, Chelsah Thomas, said what the new government decides to do with these programs will not have an impact on those who want to be more energy efficient.  “The grants provided exposure, accessibility and options to Albertans, and because of the exposure, lots of Albertans know about it and know it’s an option for them, so I think the job has been done.”  She also noted the solar industry is “still extremely low priced” in Alberta, even without subsidies.  Both Thomas and Schmidt agreed if municipalities stepped up like Edmonton has done, it will be a motivator for people to become more energy efficient.    mamta.lulla@reddeeradvocate.com

The future of Alberta’s energy-efficiency industry is up in the air.

That has created uncertainty, says Caleb Schmidt, the owner of Red Deer’s Sunfind Solar Products Inc.

“Everything is unknown right now,” said Schmidt, adding he is waiting for more information from the new provincial government.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen.”

He has about 20 projects in Alberta in a limbo at the moment. A third of those are in central Alberta.

The former NDP government introduced energy efficiency programs that provide rebates to residential and commercial properties under the Residential and Commercial Solar Program.

A report from Energy Efficiency Alberta in October confirmed central Albertans embraced energy efficiency initiatives.

Red Deer had one of the highest per capita participation rates in the Residential No-Charge Energy Savings program, with one out of every 10 homes (a total of 4,778 residences) taking advantage.

The city was one of the top communities for participation in home improvement and online incentives, with 285 participants adding insulation, replacing windows, opting for drain water heat recovery or installing a tankless hot water heater.

If Premier Jason Kenney decides to scrap the rebates, there may be a short-term drop in people’s interest in the energy-efficiency programs, because Albertans look at both savings and the subsidies attached to the initiatives, Schmidt said.

“The rebates will definitely make a difference, but there are other factors, such as low energy prices, which also hinders our market,” he said, adding if the future is not favourable, it will impact his business.

“There are very few people who switch for the environmental reasons alone.

“The bottom line is there’s a ton of uncertainty – all the changes and everything is a bit frustrating right now, but that’s where we’re at.”

Another central Alberta business owner said the energy-efficiency movement has already started, regardless of what Kenney decides to do.

The Sol Invictus Energy Services co-owner in central Alberta, Chelsah Thomas, said what the new government decides to do with these programs will not have an impact on those who want to be more energy efficient.

“The grants provided exposure, accessibility and options to Albertans, and because of the exposure, lots of Albertans know about it and know it’s an option for them, so I think the job has been done.”

She also noted the solar industry is “still extremely low priced” in Alberta, even without subsidies.

Both Thomas and Schmidt agreed if municipalities stepped up like Edmonton has done, it will be a motivator for people to become more energy efficient.


mamta.lulla@reddeeradvocate.com

How to save on monthly energy bills? Central Alberta woman explains   MAMTA LULLA   Jan. 29, 2019 2:26 p.m.   LOCAL NEWS    NEWS   How much would you save if you didn’t have to pay for energy for your home every month?  A home in Lacombe County is central Alberta’s first “damn-near” passive solar net zero home.  Chelsah Thomas, who built the house along with her husband Jesse, explained a net zero home generates as much energy as it consumes over the course of a year. Located just outside of Blackfalds, the home uses solar energy to passively heat itself, has solar panels, along with other forms of energy, and an off-grid and a grid-tied system.  “So we technically don’t pay any energy bills,” she said Tuesday.  The house is designed to capture passive solar heat or “free heat.” Net zero homes are constructed as high-performance homes, heated electrically and powered by solar energy.  As of 2018, Alberta had three certified passive homes, and some other uncertified ones, the wife and mother confirmed.  The Thomas house, constructed last year, was built using the principles of a passive house. The high-performance home did not meet the stringent requirements, however, and remains uncertified, and is being considered a “damn-near passive house.”  Thomas, 34, explained her house produces more energy in the summer than in winter. This means the family earns credits in the summer months from its utility provider, and pays for energy in winters, which evens out the costs over the course of the year.  The Sol Invictus Energy Services co-owner said Alberta and Sasktachewan use the most energy to heat their homes in all of Canada, based on numbers from Statistics Canada.  In Red Deer, energy efficiency programs are becoming more popular due to funding and grants available from the government of Alberta, said Thomas.  A report from Energy Efficiency Alberta in October confirmed central Albertans are embracing energy efficiency programs. Red Deer had one of the highest per capita participation rates in the Residential No-Charge Energy Savings program, with one out of every 10 homes (a total of 4,778 residences) taking advantage.  The city was one of the top communities in Alberta for participation in home improvement and online incentives, with 285 participants adding insulation, replacing windows, opting for drain water heat recovery or installing a tankless hot water heater.  Home owners wondering about their usage and how it compares to others can go to myheat.ca and type in their address. The map shows potential heat loss and provides a heat rating compared to other homes in the neighbourhood.  Thomas advises people to install LED lights, have short showers, wash clothing with cold water and install window shading and air sealing to start saving on energy bills. Those who are buying a home or renovating can add insulation in walls, ceilings and floors, install triple pane windows, and replace old appliances with high-efficiency models.

How to save on monthly energy bills? Central Alberta woman explains

MAMTA LULLA

Jan. 29, 2019 2:26 p.m.

LOCAL NEWS

NEWS

How much would you save if you didn’t have to pay for energy for your home every month?

A home in Lacombe County is central Alberta’s first “damn-near” passive solar net zero home.

Chelsah Thomas, who built the house along with her husband Jesse, explained a net zero home generates as much energy as it consumes over the course of a year. Located just outside of Blackfalds, the home uses solar energy to passively heat itself, has solar panels, along with other forms of energy, and an off-grid and a grid-tied system.

“So we technically don’t pay any energy bills,” she said Tuesday.

The house is designed to capture passive solar heat or “free heat.” Net zero homes are constructed as high-performance homes, heated electrically and powered by solar energy.

As of 2018, Alberta had three certified passive homes, and some other uncertified ones, the wife and mother confirmed.

The Thomas house, constructed last year, was built using the principles of a passive house. The high-performance home did not meet the stringent requirements, however, and remains uncertified, and is being considered a “damn-near passive house.”

Thomas, 34, explained her house produces more energy in the summer than in winter. This means the family earns credits in the summer months from its utility provider, and pays for energy in winters, which evens out the costs over the course of the year.

The Sol Invictus Energy Services co-owner said Alberta and Sasktachewan use the most energy to heat their homes in all of Canada, based on numbers from Statistics Canada.

In Red Deer, energy efficiency programs are becoming more popular due to funding and grants available from the government of Alberta, said Thomas.

A report from Energy Efficiency Alberta in October confirmed central Albertans are embracing energy efficiency programs. Red Deer had one of the highest per capita participation rates in the Residential No-Charge Energy Savings program, with one out of every 10 homes (a total of 4,778 residences) taking advantage.

The city was one of the top communities in Alberta for participation in home improvement and online incentives, with 285 participants adding insulation, replacing windows, opting for drain water heat recovery or installing a tankless hot water heater.

Home owners wondering about their usage and how it compares to others can go to myheat.ca and type in their address. The map shows potential heat loss and provides a heat rating compared to other homes in the neighbourhood.

Thomas advises people to install LED lights, have short showers, wash clothing with cold water and install window shading and air sealing to start saving on energy bills. Those who are buying a home or renovating can add insulation in walls, ceilings and floors, install triple pane windows, and replace old appliances with high-efficiency models.

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"Energized by Passion" 

Founder of Sol Invictus Energy Services, Chelsah Thomas, was featured in this years "Notebook 2018", Red Deer College's Alumni publication. 

"There's a lot of energy illiteracy, and not jus tin our area. People don't know about the technologies, design, and construction methods available, so it is important to have - not just advocacy for solar and renewables and energy efficiency design methods, but and education component."

Check out the details of Chelsah's journey from RDC to Sol Invictus below!

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