600 sf home plus loft – lower, 345 sf workshop – upper

The Demonstration Phase

The demonstration Phase is the current phase of the Eco Healthy Homes Project. Winter/Spring 2020/2021, we will construct a small home that models deep green principles supportive of our project’s long term goals to provide regional, replicable home designs.

We will document the processes, products, challenges, solutions and opportunities we discover during the design/build process. Lessons learned will inform development of a replicable, customizable model. Project publicity and post occupancy testing, research and analysis will help promote change in the process.

Demonstration Phase Goals

During the demonstration phase we will:

  • Explore products and technologies for a replicable, customizable, regional model
  • Document and publicize deep green products and methods
  • Share details about the costs, challenges, solutions and opportunities discovered
  • Forge relationships with and between industry collaborators
  • Raise awareness about the project
  • Raise awareness about the community and householder benefits of deep green building
  • Grow demand for the Eco Healthy Homes brand

Function of the Demonstration House

The demonstration home will provide a real life model to:

  • Model deep green construction
  • Showcase select products and building methods
  • Collect data for Phase 3 analysis – cost, economic, technical, regulatory
  • Perform post occupancy testing
  • Identify successful components and improvements necessary for a replicable model
  • Provide virtual and on site tours

Demonstration Home Goals

The design ideals for the home will be guided by the science and principles of Passive House and Living Building Challenge. At a minimum the home will meet the requirements Net Zero Ready (Step Code 5), and Net Zero water and will utlize a European style, natural building Passive House approach. This means not only continuous insulation, high efficiency windows, appropriate house orientation, HRV, and minimization of thermal bridges, it also means creating a self-drying long lasting, vapour-intelligent building enclosure using non toxic and natural products and designing complementary passive ventilation for window-sourced fresh air during the shoulder seasons.

Natural building and permaculture principles and the other rating systems listed on the design page will also inform the choices. Products and methods will be selected for their accessibility to conventional construction workers and builders so they can be used by any builder without extensive extra training.

General Design Priorities

The following list is a brief summary of the overall design priorities:

  • Lifecycle health and environmental impacts
  • Up front cost 
  • Long term affordability
  • Resilient design (especially food/water/energy security)
  • Durability (fire, pest, rot, service life)
  • Seismic resistance
  • Replicability and local production opportunities
  • Regulatory, insurance and warrantee considerations

Specific Design Priorities

The following detailed specifications have guided the goals for the demonstration home and hillside site.

Energy and water efficiency:
  • Integrated systems design for maximum energy and water efficiency
  • Emphasis on passive heating, lighting and ventilation
  • Long East West axis for maximum south exposure
  • Window glass maximized on south side and minimized on West and North
  • Net Zero Water  (rainwater only, metal roof*, waterless toilet, greywater reuse, low water appliances and fixtures)

* All metal roofs are included in lieu of living roofs in favour of optimum rainwater collecton surface area – that must be maximized on a small home.

Building envelope:
  • Self drying, moisture tolerant envelope
  • Passive indoor temperature and humidity regulation
  • Resistance to mold, fire, insects and rodents
  • Seismic design sufficient for post earthquake occupancy
  • Ample roof overhangs for building envelope protection
  • Compatibility with use of back up power and or total power interruptions
  • Minimal lifecycle environmental and humanitarian impacts
  • Proven performance and company reputation
  • Quality of warrantee protection and reliability of supplier
  • Maintenance requirements
  • Cost and availability of replacement parts/repair options
  • Upfront and long term affordability for households
  • Service life and repair expenses
  • Passive light and heat
  • Simple design and owner-finish, upgradable components
  • Successional options such as future home expansion
  • Site and home design and wiring for renewable energy add ons
  • Small square footage to lower the cost of building products and technologies.
  • Salvage product options (for products that are widely available)
  • Intelligent dimensional design to minimize waste
  • Operations, maintenance and repair costs
  • Exploration of opportunities for local, cooperative production of components
Change Catalyst:
  • Achievable and relatable methods – without extensive training
  • Products that are available within participating communities
  • Economic opportunities for local community
  • Local production opportunities for more affordable Eco Healthy Homes
Minimization or elimination of:
  • Site damage and permanent impacts
  • Toxicity
  • Concrete
  • Foam
  • Engineered wood products
  • Drywall or gypsum
  • PVC products
  • Petroleum products
  • Red list items etc (see standards on website)
Human Health:
  • Healthy air quality and easy to clean home
  • Cold storage and food preparation prioritized
  • Non-toxic maintenance
  • Healthy jobs for factory and construction workers
  • Community impacts from product manufacturing, construction and landfill
Resilience and durability:
  • Strong, resilient design with resistance to fire, earthquakes, and wind
  • Simple, passive and manual technology 
  • Back up systems for electrical independence
  • Easy to maintain and easy to repair home
  • Resistance to mold, pests, moisture and weathering
  • Design and technologies for convenient energy/water conservation
  • Single level, wheelchair accessible (and adaptable for wheelchair living)
  • Easy care design for a longer lasting house
  • Spacious but small design
  • Separate sound/visual zones to support flexible use and harmony for multiple occupants

Site design

  • Beauty and a low maintenance, edible landscaping (food forest)
  • Easy access to all terraced levels
  • Maximum potential for rainwater harvesting and solar exposure
  • Renewable energy upgrade options
  • 100% rainwater with waterless toilet and greywater reuse
  • Gravity powered wastewater filtration
  • Emphasize outdoor living and on site food production
  • Potential for future home expansion/successional planning
  • A site for the planned Harmony Habitat office