October 25, 2022

Building the Future: How To Fill the Housing Gap with Innovative Technologies and Natural Materials

Jean-Marc La Flamme

Housing Innovation

Canada has a housing problem. There aren’t enough homes for everyone, and what is available isn’t affordable. But that’s hardly news to anyone looking to buy a home these days. According to the CMHC, if we’re going to tackle this affordability crisis, we need a staggering 5.8 million new homes by 2030. That’s a pretty tall order.  

To be able to achieve anything even close to those numbers, we know one thing for sure: we can’t keep doing what we’ve been doing. The current approach to housing hasn’t changed in centuries, it moves slowly, requires huge amounts of labour, and is very hard on the environment, generating nearly half of all annual CO2 emissions globally. And there aren’t enough people available to do all the planning and development we need, and not enough time to wait for improved building to happen.  

We have to find new ways to build quickly, sustainably and affordably. We need big ideas, and we need them now.   

The National Housing Forum [Place+Space]: Powering Our Housing Future, is showcasing innovation, diversity and partnerships.

[Place+Space] is curated by Evergreen, the event builds upon our work in housing sustainability and affordability since 2013 and in partnership with CMHC since 2020, including The Housing Supply Challenge Support Program and My Future Home Forum.

We bring together a diverse audience of practitioners, innovators, and solution-makers to talk about the affordability crisis in Canada, technologies and solutions to build homes quickly and sustainably, but inclusive with all residents. We want to provoke a wider conversation about housing as a human right, as well as what makes a “future” home and community.

The great ideas are out there 

There’s a lot of innovation happening in the housing industry. We just need to invest in them first rather than in expired building technology. We can dramatically lower building costs with innovative natural materials, automation in design and assembly, and with thoughtful approaches that factor in housing diversity and cultural desires. 

We’ve rounded up a few smart, innovative approaches that we’re excited about to show you what’s possible, to inspire ideas, and start reimagining housing in meaningful, applicable ways.  

Ever considered living in a 3D printed house?  

You can 3D print an entire house? Yep! Extra-large printers can print a home in as little as 24 hours – out of recycled or sustainable materials that create almost no construction waste, and also eliminate much of the labour needed to build houses the way we have traditionally done. 

Ultra-affordable, livable pre-fab homes 

As home prices continue to skyrocket, innovative companies are manufacturing super-affordable pre-fabricated houses. These brilliant little buildings don’t even require furnishing – each one comes with its own built-in furniture. Buyers can get a fully-manufactured dwelling in one piece, with no setup other than service connections!  

Regenerative Building Materials 

Modern natural material science has advanced noticeably in recent years. Today’s materials are environmentally friendly, reliable and durable, while airy and light-weight. But what if concrete or metal could heal itself with hemp? What if we could grow a building from plants and mycelium? It would be possible to save billions of dollars on building, repairs and restoration work alone, not to mention reducing harm to the environment that comes from replacing damaged materials. 

That’s just a sampling of the incredible ideas that are out there. Innovative construction technology is a north star for the housing industry – and for all residents looking to achieve truly affordable, resilient living.  

Engage & Share #FutureHousing during dialogue on your favourite social media channel.

Let’s take a collaborative step towards critical action.

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