With eco-friendly homes more popular than ever, it’s no surprise Bridgwater Forest is on top of the latest trends in environmentally friendly developments and initiatives. Many of Bridgwater Forest’s new homes incorporate green energy solutions, such as geothermal heating and cooling systems, to make the new development as friendly to the environment as possible.
Geothermal heating and cooling systems help beat rising energy costs while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These systems are some of the most energy- and cost-efficient available today, operating much more efficiently than the usual heating and air conditioning units by using the earth’s energy to heat and cool the home.
According to Manitoba Hydro, Manitoba is the national leader per capita of geothermal installations, with approximately 30 per cent of annual Canadian geothermal installations. Those installations have reduced annual greenhouse gas emissions by over 35,000 tonnes, the equivalent to taking more than 10,000 cars off the road each year. Priding itself on creating a green, environmentally friendly community, Bridgwater Forest is pleased to contribute to those numbers.
“We have designated 54 lots in the first phase of the development to geothermal energy,” says Dwayne Rewniak, director of land development at Manitoba Housing. “There are an additional 46 lots in phase two that have been identified for potential geothermal development.”
The way geothermal systems work is simple but extremely effective. Since the sun’s energy is stored just below the ground, a buried loop system of polyethylene pipes extracts the heat from soil beneath the frost line. A geothermal heat pump concentrates the energy and releases it inside the house. In the summer, when residents want their homes to be cooler, the process is simply reversed and the pipes return the heat to the earth.
Geothermal systems do not create any combustion products and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They also use far less electricity than traditional electric heating systems. Furthermore, geothermal systems generally stay on longer and provide more consistent heat distribution throughout the home since the air is heated more gradually, ensuring Bridgwater Forest homeowners with the systems experience maximum comfort.
Though geothermal systems are more expensive to install than a conventional heating and air conditioning system, they more than make up for it over the long-term, with most industry estimates citing payback within 10 years. The payback period can, however, vary significantly, since geothermal systems are customized to individual homes and every Bridgwater Forest home is unique.
“Every home is only a short walk to a bus stop.”
Indeed, in addition to the lessened impact on the environment, the biggest benefit to geothermal systems is the reduced heating bill, as the proven technology saves up to 50 to 70 per cent on your annual heating costs. According to Manitoba Hydro, the system can also reduce space cooling costs up to 40 per cent and domestic water heating costs up to 25 per cent.
As an added bonus, the Manitoba government is now offering incentives to homeowners for geothermal installations. For geothermal installations in new homes, Manitobans can receive up to $3,000, including a refundable Green Energy Equipment Tax Credit worth about $2,000. Bridgwater Forest is proud to offer its homeowners energy-efficient options like geothermal systems so they can take advantage of incentives while contributing to a greener environment.
In addition to the geothermal systems, several Bridgwater Forest homes are also part of the Power Smart program offered by Manitoba Hydro, seeing as how the best time to install energy-efficient systems is during the construction of a new home. Rewniak says, “A number of our homes were built to a Power Smart silver or gold standard,” meaning they were built with required standards of specific energy-efficient features. Power Smart homes save homeowners money with reduced monthly energy costs, as well as provide increased comfort levels.
Another way Bridgwater Forest residents contribute to a greener, cleaner and healthier community is by taking public transit. Thanks to Bridgwater Forest’s close and convenient bus access, residents can lessen their impact on the environment tremendously. According to Environment Canada, one 10-kilometre trip in a personal vehicle creates, on average, 2.8 kilograms in greenhouse gas emissions, while a public transit user creates 65 per cent fewer emissions than an auto user for the same trip.
“Bridgwater Forest has been designed to be very transit-friendly,” says Rewniak. “Every home is only a short walk to a bus stop.” Transit service starts in September, so Bridgwater Forest residents can soon look forward to a greener transportation option.
Bridgwater Forest strives to provide its homeowners with the best and easiest green solutions out there. From installing geothermal systems to being designated Power Smart to offering convenient transit access, Bridgwater Forest’s forward-thinking approach will ensure for a greener tomorrow.