Living without oil or gas
In December 2009, the Kenny family moved to their new home in Bathurst in the eastern Canadian province of New Brunswick. Father Bryan, mother Renee and their four children Tyler (14), Grayson (13), Shane (9), and Olivia (6) will see if a family of six can survive for a whole year without using fossil fuels.
The “Eco Plus Home” – designed by a Canadian real estate developer and a manufacturer of prefabricated houses – is ready for series production. Bosch is also involved in the project as the building technology supplier. A conventional home generates average CO2 emissions of around eight tons, but the Eco Plus Home reduces this to virtually zero. If the experiment is a success, the prefabricated house will be launched in Canada and the U.S. at the same price as conventional homes.
The building technology supplied by Bosch consists of an electric heat pump, a solar thermal system, and a photovoltaic installation. The heat pump uses geothermal energy and the solar thermal installation generates heat and hot water from free solar radiation. Although electricity is required to operate the heat pump, the photovoltaic installation generates significantly more CO2-free power over the course of a year than the heat pump consumes. It is also planned to run an electric car. Power that is surplus to requirements will be fed into the public grid and any additional power required will be drawn from there if necessary. This will enable the family to survive the harsh Canadian winter – which can see temperatures dipping as low as minus 35 degrees Celsius – in comfort while still generating more power than they use over the year as a whole.
Energy generation and consumption levels can be checked regularly online. The Kenny family will also be reporting on their experiences several times a week in a public blog. Renee Kenny considers herself a pioneer. “We wholeheartedly believe that this experiment is important. If a family of six can live without fossil fuels, anyone can,” she stresses.