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Airdrie family enters 'Live Net Zero' competition

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Samantha and Kevin Shannon and their three children will be drastically reducing their energy usage by squaring off against other Canadian families as part of the 'Live Net Zero' competition.

"We were going to do this before we even knew about the Canadian Geographic challenge with 'Live Net Zero'," said Samantha Shannon from outside her home on Thursday.

The Airdrie residents say they hope to inspire other typical middle class families to reduce carbon emissions and lessen the effects of climate change.

"We still have a long long way to go," she added.

The Live Net Zero challenge is hosted by Canadian Geographic and Shell, a national charity dedicated to environmental initiatives.

A total of eight households across Canada will complete six challenges starting after Labour Day through to late November, with the winners receiving a $50,000 grand prize.

The challenges cover commuting, home improvements, addressing drafts, heating and cooling efficiencies, electrical power consumption, and eco-friendly vacation planning.

Officials with Canadian Geographic say the competition provides tangible examples any family could implement.

"To help Canadians figure out where to start and to show them practical examples of what Canadians are doing to try to make a difference," said Aran O'Carroll, national director for Canadian Geographic.

A panel of judges will determine the winner based on proof of completion and the quality of videos submitted by participants, and will make the announcement in April 2024.

ENERGY EFFICIENT GOALS

The Shannon household already installed solar panels and are planning to replace the garage natural gas furnace with an electric heat pump, which would disconnect it from the non-renewable energy grid.

The family's front yard is also in the process of becoming a source of geothermal power from deep underground to provide heating and cooling from renewable resource.

These projects have been self-funded through grants and loans, but winning the prize money would be a welcome help.

"We are not the Rockefellers we do not have this in our piggy bank to accomplish everything we are going for," said Samantha Shannon.

She is also helping produce a documentary about upcoming building code changes in Canada, and said that inspired her own family to get ahead, and begin energy efficient retrofits.

"I don't want our house to be left behind when it comes to 2030 and 2050 when all the new builds are net zero ready or completely energy efficient and sustainable on their own."

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