The Eco Healthy Homes Project
Making sustainable attainable
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.
Our Eco Healthy Homes Project is a 5 phase strategic plan to change this. We are developing a replicable demonstration mini-home and builder’s resources 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 a research and demonstration house that meets our project criteria. We will then develop a regionally-adaptable digital design tool to help builders overcome current barriers to deep green building by acting as a roadmap. The regionally adaptable tool will enable customization for site specifics, customer preferences and size and can be adapted to meet the needs of different communities.
Our project vision 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 revenue-sharing 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
*Development of the planned Eco Healthy Homes Land Partnership Model has been postponed.
Eco Healthy Homes Video – 7 1/2 minutes
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” (anonymous)
Eco Healthy Goals for Building Change
The Eco Healthy Homes Project was formed to generate positive change in the home building industry. It aims to:
- Reduce harm pollution and waste related to home construction
- Create equitable access to healthy, resilient homes that are affordable to live in over the long term
- Support healthy meaningful construction related jobs in our community
- Generate local cooperative eco-preneurial opportunities to localize the supply chain, support local jobs, and reduce carbon emissions
- Following a successful pilot, scale the project to additional communities
Eco Healthy Strategies for Building Change
The project is a five phase strategic plan summarized by the following points:
- Investigate the embodied carbon, toxicity and water of the products and methods for the Eco Healthy Homes Project
- Raise awareness about select products and methods
- Connect principled building professionals, suppliers and municipal officials
- Analyze the environmental, health and economic benefits of replicating the Eco Healthy Home designs
- Streamline permitting of Eco Healthy Homes through customizable, regionally standardized options
- Develop an easy to use Builder’s Resource so any builder can design and build pre-engineered, pre researched, pre-tested deep green home design options
- Form multi-sector building cooperatives to increase the supply of and decrease the cost of, Eco Healthy Homes
Gabriola Pilot Project
A research and demonstration home for the Eco Healthy Homes case study will be built on privately owned land on Gabriola Island. The Eco Healthy Homes Land Partnership Model is currently on hold. Click here to learn more about the Gabriola Pilot Project