The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) recently shortlisted OPEN Technologies as one of 21 organizations to receive funding under the first round of its Housing Supply Challenge. The federal crown corporation awarded us $200,000 to tackle a critical challenge to affordable housing supply:
How can affordable housing providers reduce the number of cancelled projects and increase the number of projects that hit their costing target?
Many promising affordable housing projects never get off the ground, as decision makers struggle to navigate conflicting priorities, such as energy performance requirements and the modest costs associated with higher efficiency buildings.
Enter the Net-Zero Navigator Extension for Affordable Housing.
Sounds great, right? But What does it do? Well, first, a bit of background. The Net-Zero Navigator software tool allows building designers to leverage recent machine-learning advances to drastically shorten the time needed to identify and refine high-performance building designs. OPEN developed the original tool in 2020 in partnership with the University of Victoria’s Dr. Ralph Evins and his Energy Systems and Sustainable Cities research group.
The Net-Zero Navigator Extension—along with future iterations—will allow project teams to quickly and easily find the right balance between construction costs, energy performance and costs, and climate resilience. This will reduce barriers to investment and lower costs to meeting new energy and/or GHG obligations, while getting more projects into the pipeline.
As we develop this tool, we’re hopeful that the insights we glean along the way will also help practitioners optimize design and retrofits across all building types.
Watch this space!