Equilibrium Housing Pilot
Equilibrium housing combines passive solar, energy efficient design, construction and appliances, integrated with commercially available on-site renewable energy systems to achieve net zero energy consumption on an annual basis, significantly reduced green house gas (GHG) emissions, and low environmental impacts relating to other resources, such as water, land and air). Essentially, an EQuilibrium healthy house is a highly energy efficient, grid-tied home that produces as much energy as it uses on an annual basis.
EQuilibrium housing incorporates CMHC’s five principles for Healthy HousingTM — Occupant Comfort; Energy Efficiency; Resource Conservation; Environmental Impact; Affordability. EQuilibirum Housing follows sustainable community design principles to ensure minimal environmental impact and proper layout of a development to optimize resources, infrastructure and solar exposure of the site, and reduces transportation related impacts due to community design.
EQuilibrium housing optimizes a number of key features:
- Climate specific design
- Energy and resource efficient construction
- Passive solar heating and cooling
- Natural daylighting
- Energy efficient appliances and lighting
- Renewable energy systems, such as photovoltaics, solar thermal and ground-source heat systems
- Water conservation and re-use
- Land and natural habitat conservation
- Sustainable community design and green infrastructure practices
- Utility grid connection to exchange energy
EQuilibrium housing represents an integrated industry/government/consumer contribution to address Canadian environmental quality and climate change issues in the housing sector. A long-term vision is for all new homes to be built to EQuilibrium housing standards by 2030.
The goals of the EQuilibrium housing initiative are to:
- Develop a clear vision and approach to achieve EQuilibrium housing in Canada;
- Build capacity and lower the barriers for Canada’s housing and renewable energy industry sectors to create high-quality EQuilibrium housing across the country over the long term; and
- Achieve market acceptance of highly energy-efficient healthy houses and sustainable communities.
Benefits to Homeowners
EQuilibrium housing offers a number of advantages to homeowners, including:
- Reduction in housing operating costs
- Healthier indoor environment
- Protection from increasing energy prices
- Greater comfort
- Energy supply security
- Positive environmental contribution
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is leading the federal government participation in the EQuilibrium housing initiative. Ultimately, the vision for the EQuilibrium housing initiative in Canada is that of an industry-led venture supported by Canada's federal, provincial and municipal governments. Key stakeholders include members of Canada's housing and renewable energy industries, such as developers, homebuilders, utilities, manufacturers, architects, engineers, academics, integrated design experts and researchers, and other federal departments such as Natural Resources Canada, Environment Canada and Industry Canada.
The EQuilibrium housing initiative will build on the expertise cultivated by all these various partners in environmentally sound and occupant-friendly design and construction techniques and practices. It will bring together public- and private-sector members of the housing and renewable energy industries through an integrated design development process to create new community solutions for healthy cities and a clean energy future.