This project is a volunteer-run non-profit initiative aimed at reducing the toxicity, pollution and waste associated with home building. We are uniting experienced change-makers to develop replicable, deep green home building solutions.
By deep green building, we mean, building for energy efficiency and much more. With a research-informed design approach we believe we can help transform the negative health, environmental and economic impacts usually associated with construction – into better health for our households, our workers, our communities, and our environment.
The project is a response to an industry review that identified multiple research, regulatory, training, supply, and cost hurdles that make deep green homes a rare exception.
We are exploring the best options for replicable, regionalized building solutions and a plan to make deep green homes more broadly and equitably accessible by making it easier and less costly for any builder to build them.
Our concern Most building products have hidden health and environmental costs related to their manufacturing, transport, installation, disposal and demolition. These costs burden workers, society and homeowners but are invisible, leading to a false perception of affordability. Furthermore, most homes waste energy and water, are susceptible to mould and premature rot, and leave households unnecessarily vulnerable to the effects of chemical-off gassing, mold, high repair bills, service outages, high winds and earthquakes.
Our goal is to make deep green homes accessible and affordable in a way that supports community well being. A deep green home is healthy, energy and water-efficient. It uses products with low embodied energy. It harvests heat, light, energy and water from nature. It is built to protect our safety and comfort in extreme weather events and reduce emergency response costs. It is beautiful, durable (100+ years), convenient, and affordable to maintain and live in.
Our inspiration is the enormous positive potential for change that can support healthy manufacturing and construction jobs. Transforming the tens of tonnes of materials and hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in most homes can radically reduce greenhouse gas pollution and waste from construction and demolition while growing resilient local economies and healthier households better equipped to adapt to the effects of climate change.
Our strategy is to first clear a path by researching, developing, documenting, and publicizing replicable solutions in deep green home design. We will then develop a mini-home prototype and a regionally-adaptable digital design tool to act as a roadmap that will help builders overcome current barriers to deep green building. The tool will enable customization for site specifics, customer preferences and size.
Our project vision is to make Eco Healthy Homes as broadly accessible and as affordable as possible, Harmony Habitat’s long term vision is a cooperative enterprise and regional networks of Eco Healthy Home professionals and suppliers. Collaborative production can lower distribution costs, boost innovation, streamline permitting, localize the supply chain and lower the cost of the homes.
We believe that this project can promote the industry and social change necessary to advance our transition to deep green human habitat.
“Cooperation is born of the thorough conviction that nobody can get there unless everybody gets there” ~Virginia Burden
Steps for building change
Our Eco Healthy Homes Project can facilitate change by:
- engaging enlightened experts and suppliers
- asking the questions about lifecycle impacts of our building choices
- selecting responsible products and methods that have maximum benefit to households and communities
- creating practical supports to make deep green home design easier
- rallying consumer, government and industry enthusiasm to advance the solutions.
- generating win win collaborative strategies that lower the cost of specific deep green designs