It’s widely felt that energy-efficient and environmentally friendly “green” building approaches are more expensive than conventional methods. However, sustainable housing and communities require not only environmental sustainability, but also economic and social sustainability. How can environmental performance be integrated into the economic models of affordable housing projects to enhance their long-term livability and viability?
The Fundamentally integrating environmental performance into affordable housing Solutions Lab will tackle that question. Partners and stakeholders from diverse housing sectors will collaborate to explore a holistic approach to building livable and sustainable communities. The goal is to ensure that Canadian affordable housing has the environmental, social and economic performance to be truly sustainable.
3 Key Goals
Understand the systems that influence affordable housing, green building and the housing needs of Canadians.
Identify opportunities to intervene in these interconnected systems to improve housing sustainability.
Develop and test ideas to improve the environmental performance of affordable housing in Calgary and across Canada.
Project scope and expected outcomes
A holistic approach to sustainability
The National Housing Strategy focuses on ensuring that affordable housing created in Canada is built to last. This includes ensuring that housing is environmentally friendly, socially inclusive and financially secure for builders and operators. Achieving those outcomes requires an approach that integrates those requirements into the very design of a project.
The Lab will explore holistic approaches to creating truly sustainable housing. It will draw on the lived experience of individuals, organizational needs of housing providers and technical expertise of the industry. This will help the Lab develop a greater understanding of how to ensure homes and communities are more sustainable.
Insight into the housing spectrum
The Lab will integrate diverse groups into its process. This includes those with lived experience in affordable housing and the organizations that provide housing solutions to them. It also includes varied professionals and community members who are passionate about improving their communities.
The Lab will occur over 5 phases:
- The Definition Phase will create a clear understanding and expectation of the project among Lab partners, consultants and participants. Key activities will include identifying the project scope, resources, responsibilities and timelines among partners, and confirming the Lab question. A detailed workplan will also be established.
- The Discovery Phase will include in-depth interviews and user experience mapping with residents of various types of housing. This will help the Lab understand their lived experiences. The economic realities of housing providers and “green” building solutions will also be explored. A system report will be created that establishes the current context and existing best practices.
- The Development Phase involves collaboratively developing ideas that address the challenge question. Ideas will be reviewed and prioritized through repeated testing to identify the solutions with the greatest potential.
- The Prototype and Test Phase will create and test prototypes of the most promising solutions from the previous phase. Solutions will be evaluated, refined and improved, with lessons learned through testing being used to modify the solution further.
- The Roadmap Phase will include a workshop to develop a roadmap. Design workshops will identify potentially useful information or tools for those in the housing sector to implement the proposed solution.
Building and sharing knowledge
An essential component of the Lab’s process will be the building and sharing of knowledge. This will generate interest in the Lab and its results, and allow the community to interact with the Lab.
The roadmap produced by the Lab will identify how the proposed solution can be implemented. A project website will tell the story of the Lab and host the Lab’s publications and resources. Social media will share Lab information, and infographics will present key insights related to the core question. The 360 Degree City podcast will also present a series to share key insights and experiences related to the Lab.
Project Team: Intelligent Futures
Location: Calgary, AB
Project Collaborators / Partners:
- Attainable Homes Calgary
- Alberta Ecotrust
- City of Calgary Affordable Housing Division
- University of Calgary Faculty of School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape
- Intelligent Futures
Get More Information:
Email email@example.com or visit our website to learn more about the initiatives under the National Housing Strategy.