CHBA Voluntarily Advancing Home Building Innovation for the Future

Members of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) are leaders in the residential construction and renovation industry and have a long history of voluntarily innovating for improved building innovation. During Home Building Week in Canada, participants on the Association’s national committees and councils are meeting virtually to continue the important work of addressing a number of issues related to housing in Canada, including making advancements in building science, net zero homes and modular construction.

“As Canada sets energy targets for the future, we need to keep in mind the importance of housing affordability as we strive to make homes increasingly energy efficient. Addressing affordability is always a top priority for the Association, and members take an affordability-first approach to innovation. The CHBA Net Zero Council and Modular Construction Council are particularly active on that front,” says CHBA CEO Kevin Lee.

CHBA’s Net Zero Home Labelling Program provides the residential construction industry and consumers with clearly defined and rigorous technical requirements for both Net Zero and Net Zero Ready Homes, and recognizes the builders and renovators who provide them. It’s designed to give Canadians peace of mind about the quality and performance of homes labelled through the program, which has been running since its pilot in 2015 and has labelled over 600 homes in Canada to-date.

Two newer initiatives are also thriving within the program: one is focused on multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs), and the other is a pilot for net zero renovations. Given the importance of deep energy retrofits to meeting climate change goals, getting more existing homes on the pathway to net zero is important, and CHBA’s work is leading the way. The MURBs initiative is advancing solutions, technologies, and approaches to building Net Zero Energy Ready and Net Zero Energy MURBs, with the goal of producing homes that are affordable, replicable, and appealing to Canadians.

All projects built under the MURB initiative will be constructed using prefabricated components, up to and including modular construction. Prefabrication, particularly factory-built approaches such as modular construction, allows the builder to not only optimize energy-efficient performance and reduce waste, but also increase productivity and shorten construction schedules. “Factory-built construction can also help address labour shortages,” notes Lee.

CHBA’s Modular Construction Council is at the forefront of these and other technologies related to factory-built construction. With this type of construction able to be used for homes of any size and shape, and its inherent productivity advantages, factory-built approaches will no doubt play a growing role in the industry.

Recent federal initiatives like the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI), which initially aimed to create 3,000 new permanent, affordable housing units in part using modular construction, show the recognition of the potential for factory-built solutions. With the RHI on track to exceed its initial goal, and with additional funding added to the program, one can see that with political will, innovation, and targeted investment, new housing supply can be brought online efficiently. This creative approach to removing barriers to new supply for affordable housing can and should be applied to all forms and tenures of housing including market-rate housing.

Through the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, the residential construction industry is voluntary innovating for both new home construction and renovation in Canada while keeping affordability as a priority. Home Building Week in Canada brings together the industry leaders who work towards that goal throughout the year.


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ABOUT THE CANADIAN HOME BUILDERS' ASSOCIATION
Since 1943, the Canadian Home Builders' Association has been "the voice of Canada's residential construction industry"—one of the most vital and enterprising industries in Canada. Representing some 9,000 member firms across Canada, CHBA members represent every part of Canada's housing industry - home builders, renovators, land developers, trade contractors, product and material manufacturers, building product suppliers, lending institutions, insurance providers, service professionals and others.