Going Green

November 2, 2020 in Environment, Housing

When I say ‘green building’, what do you think of?   You might think of solar panels, rainwater capture or sustainable materials. Often, these kinds of environmental features of buildings can be seen as expensive or non-essential qualities for buildings and in particular affordable housing solutions. Yet, there are endless reasons why we should provide affordable housing that integrates environmental performance. Sustainable buildings are better for people, the planet, and usually the pocketbook too.

Through our CMHC funded Better Housing Lab, we’re exploring how we can integrate environmental performance into the economic model of affordable housing projects. One of our collaborators in the lab is Matt Grace. He’s a green building engineer and a total expert on this topic. 

Last summer, John sat down with Matt Grace to talk about what it means to make buildings greener. Today, we’re re-running the chat from 2019, in the ‘before times’!

The Canadian affordable housing landscape

October 26, 2020 in Housing

How can we provide housing that is more affordable, environmentally friendly and livable, all at once? Throughout the next few months, we’re exploring this type of question. With a fantastic team of collaborators, we’re running the Better Housing Solutions Lab, which is funded by the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation. The hope is that the lab will be a catalyst to drive action and innovation in the affordable housing sector. 

Our team initiated this lab alongside 

This episode is a second installment of the Better Housing Lab Series that explores issues surrounding affordable housing and serves as homework for our lab participants.  

To understand how we might innovate and improve future housing projects, we wanted to understand the Canadian housing context. What is the history of housing in Canada? What are some key challenges and factors of success? 

Today John chats with a former professor of his. Dr. Sasha Tsenkova joins us for a conversation to better understand the affordable housing landscape across the country. 

Understanding affordable housing providers

October 5, 2020 in Housing

In Canada, the building industry produces 35% of the waste that heads to the landfill. Worldwide, the building industry consumes more than half of the world’s physical resources, and accounts for up to 40% of the world’s energy use.

Environmental performance is often seen as an expensive, non-essential feature to affordable housing solutions. Yet, when considering broader implications of sustainability and livability, integrating environmental performance into affordable housing makes sense. Over the next number of months, our team at Intelligent Futures will be exploring the following question:

How can environmental performance be fundamentally integrated into the economic model of affordable housing projects in order to enhance the long-term livability and viability of projects?

This question is guiding the Better Housing Lab, a Solutions Lab that is funded by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The CMHC Solutions Lab program is intended to be a catalyst for driving action and innovation in the affordable housing sector.

Our team initiated this lab alongside Attainable Homes CalgaryAlberta EcoTrust the City of Calgary Affordable Housing Division and Dr. Sasha Tsenkova of the University of Calgary.

For the rest of 2020, the podcast will be focussed on all things related to the challenge question of our Solutions Lab. The episodes will explore the variety of factors that influence affordable housing, economics, environmental performance and livability and will also serve as homework for the dozens of folks who are participating in the Solutions Lab process. 

Today, you’ll learn about two organizations who provide affordable housing at different points on the housing continuum: Catalyst Community Developments Society and Attainable Homes Calgary.

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