GB NetZero Cottages

GB NetZero Cottages

Quality comfort levels revaluated

Sustainability is an overused word these days and is meant primarily to save the life of the ecosystem [the planet] while often ignoring or as an afterthought sustaining the lives of the people living in it and on it. Truly the two should go hand in hand. The connotation being that thriving, or comfort levels are an essential measurement for a quality life instead of just maintaining or sustaining one’s life. But how can humans thrive beyond just surviving when everything costs so much? At times, our focus on income misses the mark on how to thrive, how? We might deprive ourselves of opportunities to innovate or support entrepreneurial causes when we are so enamoured with the costs, yet R&D does cost.

How can we innovate with less?

GB purposefully uses as it’s mantra, “Little is better” as an antonym to “Excess is wasteful” because it is. It’s wasteful to heat a 20-foot radius around our homes because our house acts more like a sieve for heat retention instead of containing it better through air tightness. That’s one of the reasons GB uses SIP panels and spray foaming methods in construction to help improve air tightness to more efficiently regulate and balance air quality intake. Smaller spaces are obviously more efficient from the heating and cooling aspect but are also more proactive when it comes to temperature swings. Heating and cooling larger spaces require more time, more energy and typically more costly equipment. GB believes that solar and wind energy production should be built-into the cottage and utilized and controlled by the homeowner to be less reliant on the power companies and off the grid as much as possible. Not only would it cost less for the homeowner over the long term but its 10 times more efficient than transporting energy to the masses.

Kyiv before 1993 – Utilize energy closest to the source

Years ago, I visited Kyiv shortly after the demise of the Soviet Union. While staying there with family I learned that no apartment or housing structure in Kyiv supplied it’s own hot water and standalone homes out in the country used outdated boilers to heat water for household needs. Because of the collective generation of hot water stemming from the Soviet era the freedom to access hot water was regulated and limited. 30 years later 30% of the population still relies on the public hot water heating system which inefficiently pipes hot water all over the city for domestic consumption. In the West we do similarly with the power grid.

What we have known for decades is that the best source of hot water for household consumption is a HWT. It’s small, functional, and economically cost-effective. Using the HWT as an example of utilizing the energy closest to it’s source, we’ve just saved all the costs and inefficiencies associated with the Ukrainian example. The same principle can and does apply to home generated energy using solar panels and wind turbines. It allows for cost containment for a fixed expenditure using technology and innovation as the breakthrough answer to household energy needs.

Better utilization of household waste

We go to great lengths to recycle our household wastes through community initiatives, but we often overlook the opportunities available right in our own homes, such as composting, water recycling and run off water. GB uses many innovative solutions to productively reuse household waste:

Garburator recycled compost for plants

Inhouse self-watered/fertilized plant containers w/sensors for comfort

Fish Tanks—Aquaponics


Pets/Birds space to enhance btu’s

More natural light for plant growth

Recycled grey water for plant use

Exterior Run-off water recycled and used for in-floor heating

Channeled drain water from sinks, tubs, and showers—filtered

Farm animal waste use for methane generation and fertilizing

Water filtered from the intake source or run-off source for potable purposes