11 Flavours of Sustainability May 19 2016, 0 Comments

This blog article first appeared on Shawna's Bfreehomes blog in April 2016. Please reblog as you want!

LIH

Keeping track of what's going on in the world of low-impact, sustainable housing is, and was, a challenge. It's something that our CEO, Shawna Henderson, has been passionate about since the early 1990s. We did a study for CMHC back in the early 00's looking for great examples for a series of case studies that required collecting a ton of info on many projects. CMHC published only 3 of 24 case studies, but we had hundreds of submissions to a survey that we sent out to over 7,000 design professionals in 2004 and 2005.

We chose the term 'low impact housing' to describe the database because we were looking at the gamut of housing projects affiliated with so many different programs and standards:

  • Sustainable
  • Ecological
  • Factor Four
  • Factor Nine
  • Green
  • Healthy
  • Low Emission
  • Passivhaus
  • Zero Emission
  • Zero Energy
  • Zero Carbon

The common theme is that the programs, and the projects themselves, went far beyond being energy efficient. They all address a broad range of concerns about environmental impacts throughout the lifecycle of a house – from site selection through design and materials choices, construction, operation, maintenance and demolition.

We have a small section on sustainability in our Construction Technology course, with plans to expand the section into a multi-module course that would look at energy efficiency, resource efficiency and environmental responsibility throughout the lifecycle of a building.

The Low Impact Housing database is still online, kept up by Sealevel Special Projects because it's a cool resource.

Go check it out!
Add your project!
Link it to other organizations compiling case studies!

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