CMHC Healthy Housing Practical Tips
Approximately 25 per cent of Canadians suffer from some form of allergy or chemical sensitivity. For them, clean indoor air is essential, but all Canadians benefit from a healthy indoor environment. This publication identifies ways that you can make your home a healthier place to live. You’ll get tips to make your home resource efficient, energy efficient, environmentally responsible and affordable.
The Five Essentials of Healthy Housing™
The Healthy House is bright, open, energy efficient and welcoming. It can be new or renovated, in downtown or suburbia. Wherever you find it, the Healthy House is characterized by five key elements.
- OCCUPANT HEALTH – Healthy Housing™ promotes superior quality of indoor air, water and lighting.
- ENERGY EFFICIENCY – Homes account for about 20 per cent of all energy used in Canada. Of this, about 67 per cent is used for space heating and cooling, 18 per cent for lighting and appliances, and 15 per cent for heating water.
The Healthy House reduces energy use in all these areas, in all seasons. It minimizes heat loss in winter and gain in summer. It relies on efficient heating and ventilation systems, reduces the consumption of electricity and other fuels, and encourages the use of renewable energy. It also reduces the energy used in the manufacture of building materials and in house construction.
- RESOURCE EFFICIENCY – The Healthy House makes efficient use of all our resources. It is also affordable and adaptable to changing needs. Efficient use is made of building materials, and construction waste is well managed. Durability of building components is essential. The Healthy House conserves resources, especially water and energy.
- ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY – The principles that guide the construction and use of the Healthy House are the cornerstone of environmentally responsible housing.
The Healthy House uses alternative water and wastewater systems, encourages site planning that reduces land requirements, promotes resource-efficient landscaping and considers broader community planning issues such as transportation.
It involves a new way of thinking about how homes and communities contribute to the health of the planet. Houses are becoming smaller and more space efficient with multi-use floor plans. While building lots are smaller, they are more creatively used.
- AFFORDABILITY – For the Healthy House to succeed in the marketplace, it must be good for the owner, the builder and future generations. Many features of the Healthy House make it affordable, and its design makes it easily adaptable to its occupants’ changing needs.