Driving Innovation with Home Hydrogen: Pioneering “A City of the Future” in the Edmonton Region

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Imagine the possibilities of smart, completely sustainable cities fifty years in the future. The new Cities of the Future documentary brings those ideas to life, positing cities as the epicentre of sustainable development and change. Engineers are making plans for a sustainable world right now, and these innovative ideas around renewable energy are coming to the big screen on February 21 at the Telus World of Science

But innovation around sustainable living is not just happening in big global cities. In the quest to build smart cities right here in Alberta, Qualico Communities and ATCO are partnering to create the first pure hydrogen-heated community in Canada. This ground-breaking project, located in Sherwood Park’s Bremner community, aims to set a new standard for suburban development, prioritizing low-carbon living and innovation in residential construction. Set to revolutionize the way we heat our homes, the use of hydrogen gas for residential heating has proven to be a safe, reliable, affordable, and low-carbon alternative to traditional natural gas in various international developments, including the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the USA. The project, aptly named “Home Hydrogen,” represents a significant step towards achieving provincial and federal sustainability goals. 

The key challenge of embodied carbon will be a focal point in the new national building code starting in 2025. The Home Hydrogen project aims to be ahead of these expectations, setting a precedent for energy generation and its use in residential communities. Moreover, this initiative aligns with Alberta’s commitment to the Hydrogen Roadmap, promoting clean hydrogen for heating, power generation, transportation and industrial processes. By fostering a made-in-Alberta hydrogen appliance industry, the project could unlock significant economic value and employment opportunities in technical design and manufacturing.

Qualico’s proposed pure hydrogen community also addresses critical challenges faced by Alberta, including contributing to housing affordability, decarbonizing residential housing, and diversifying the energy sector. The community aims to become a showcase of advanced hydrogen technology, promoting clean, affordable and practical energy solutions in Canada.

“Home Hydrogen,” is more than just a label; it represents a potential nationwide shift towards hydrogen replacing natural gas in homes. To provide a tangible preview of this vision, Qualico is establishing a demonstration house in Sherwood Park’s SummerWood neighborhood. This house, set to be completed in Spring 2024, will allow the public to tour and experience firsthand what a hydrogen-heated home looks like, stirring imaginations about a future fueled by Home Hydrogen.

In the larger context of Alberta’s economic landscape and the energy sector’s role, the project holds immense significance. As the government prioritizes the growth of a hydrogen economy, Qualico’s Home Hydrogen project could serve as a model for successful hydrogen application in residential settings. By investing in hydrogen home heating, Qualico is not just building houses, but is actively participating in transitioning Alberta towards lower carbon living.

The sold-out screening of Cities of the Future will be followed by a panel discussion on the considerations and opportunities that Edmonton’s city builders will need to make to support a healthy, urban, and climate resilient city. Qualico is pleased to be a part of this panel and discuss our venture into Home Hydrogen – a testament to the power of innovation in tackling climate change and building sustainable communities. With the support of the government and collaboration with ATCO, Qualico is leading the way in transforming our homes, setting the stage for a future where Home Hydrogen becomes a common replacement for natural gas across Canada.