The Shannon Household

Airdrie, Alberta

Meet the Shannon Household

Samantha, Kevin and their three young children are a self-proclaimed, “bunch of nerds” and are eager to dive into the technical details around living net zero. Though aware of the travel footprint, the Shannons were excited to fulfill a long-standing tradition and take a family vacation to Disneyland. A “typical middle-class family”, they hope to inspire other Canadian typical middle-class families to decarbonize their lives.

For the Shannon household, the process of living net zero is more about independence and resiliency. It’s about taking the responsibility and accountability of energy use into their own hands while significantly reducing their personal carbon footprint.

Keep up to date on the Shannons' journey to Live Net Zero on social media.

Follow them on their quest to live a net zero life. 

The impetus for a big change

In Grade 2, Lochlan learned about the effects of global warming on Canada’s polar bears and asked what they as a family were doing to reduce their impact. At the time, Samantha didn’t know how to answer.

In 2021, Samantha began an independent documentary following along as a sustainable housing specialist applies solutions to make her own home carbon neutral without any demolition required – to use as a case study to advocate for retrofitting the established home market.

When the Shannons’ own furnace was reaching the end of its lifespan, it caused Samantha to reflect on all the information and inspiration she’d been exposed to over the past two years working on the documentary. She and Kevin decided that this was the inflection point to stop, rethink their home, and forge ahead on their own journey towards making their 1980s bi-level, carbon neutral, while providing them with independent energy security and control over future energy costs.

Read their blog

See how the Shannon Household progressed through the challenge.

The plans for their house include

  • A 4-tonne geothermal heating system with nearly 1 km of glycol-filled pipe running to a depth of 250 feet (76 meters)
  • Installing a 19 kW solar array (3 times the Canadian residential average)
  • Replacing the garage/workshop’s natural gas furnace with an electric heat pump which will allow the Shannons to totally disconnect from the natural gas grid

Other lifestyle changes towards living net zero

Kevin was able eliminate his daily commute by continuing to work remotely after COVID restrictions lifted – resulting in a reduction of 3.92 tonnes of CO2 emissions
Purchased an e-bike and trailer and Samantha uses it for most errands and to get the kids wherever they need to go

Why be a part of the Live Net Zero Challenge?

Samantha has gained a lot of knowledge from producing the documentary and through research for their own home retrofit project and wants to share it with more people. In her words, “If average homeowners have accessible information and relatable models to emulate then we have a chance to make a real impact.”

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