1 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation National Office 682 Montreal Road Ottawa, Ontario K1A OP7 TEL: (613) Societe canadienne dhypotheques et de logement Bureau national 682 chemin Montreal Ottawa (Ontario) K1A OP7 TEL: (613) July 3, 1991 Dr. John Kenward Chief Operating Officer Canadian Home Builders' Association Elgin Street Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1L5 Dear John, Thank you for your letter of June 17 regarding Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's "Healthy Housing Design Competition", and for the selection of background documents. CMHC is very pleased that CHBA intends to be fully supportive of this initiative, and we look forward to continuing our close collaboration with you on this project. I understand that a very fruitful meeting was held on Saturday, June 22 between representatives of CHBA, CMHC and Energy Mines and Resources Canada which resolved any misunderstandings regarding the nature and intent of CMHC's Healthy Housing Design Competition and EMR/CHBA's Advanced Concepts Field Trials program. I further understand that one of the conclusions from that meeting was that CMHC and EMR would assist CHBA in developing a brochure for CHBA members, explaining the relationship between the two programs and encouraging CHBA members to participate. While the positive outcome from that meeting renders my response to the questions raised in your June 17 letter somewhat unnecessary, you may still find it valuable to have some formal documentation. I will therefore attempt to further clarify the relationship between the two programs in the following answers. Canada
2 2 1. What precisely is the difference between the CHHC initiative and the EHR initiative? Our understanding of the Advanced Concepts Field Trials program is based on EMR's "Draft Technical Requirements" and from discussions with EMR and CHBA staff. The differences between the CMHC be as follows: and EMR/CHBA initiatives would appear to a) Emphasis: The primary emphasis of the Advanced Concepts Field Trials program is on operating energy, with the goal of reducing the R2000 energy target by 50%. This is augmented by other environmental features such as water conservation, recycling, minimizing construction waste, use of ECOLOGO products, good indoor air quality and noise control, but the emphasis on operating energy dominates the Technical Requirements. CMHC's emphasis, on the other hand, is on an integrated, holistic approach to the issue of sustainable housing, which includes a range of global environmental concerns, the creation of healthy indoor environments and affordability. Although CMHC's competition criteria will include operating energy, it will not be given the same prominence as in the Advanced Concepts program. CMHC's criteria will also encompass items not included in the Advanced Concepts initiative, such as affordability, embodied energy, the environmental impact associated with the production of materials, indoor pollutant emissions, durability of building envelopes, adaptability of designs, and optimum use of building lots and interior floor space. This difference in emphasis is the single most important distinction between the two initiatives. I understand that at the June 22 meeting, Frank Campbell of EMR indicated clearly that it would not be possible to combine the technical criteria for the two programs, since they were based on two different sets of objectives. b) Objective: The Advanced Concepts initiative is in direct support of the existing R2000 Program, and one of its objectives is to develop updated R2000 standards. The technical criteria are therefore quite specific and often prescriptive. CMHC's competition, on the other hand, is an "ideas" competition which is not linked to any particular program. Rather, its objective is to encourage the public, the design community and the housing industry to take a more sustainable approach to Canadian housing. Its criteria are therefore broader and more open-ended; specific targets are not set.
3 3 c) House Types: The Advanced Concepts program emphasizes single family detached dwellings, while CMHC's competition places equal emphasis on each of the three design categories: detached suburban, retrofit of an older dwelling, and urban infill. d) Eligibility: The Advanced Concepts initiative is only open to registered R2000 builders, according to the Draft Technical Requirements. (I understand that this requirement may be changed.) Cl~C's competition is open to all Canadians, with promotional materials being targeted to architects, engineers, building scientists, product manufacturers and environmentalists, in addition to builders. e) Implementation: The Advanced Concepts initiative is being implemented in the form of a proposal call to the housing industry for a complete demonstration "package", including the design, construction, funding, monitoring and public display of a number of houses. Cl~C's initiative is a national design competition for generic house designs in three categories. The competition mayor may not be followed in future years by a demonstration. 2. Precisely what are the similarities between the two initiatives? a) The design criteria will be similar in those areas where there is overlap between the programs, particularly with respect to operating energy. However, as previously noted, CMHC's criteria tend to be broader and more open-ended, and do not set specific targets. b) There is some overlap in the target audiences for the initiatives, in that both will involve builders, and both favour multi-disciplinary teams. c) Both programs include designs for single detached dwellings, although CMHC's also involves other categories. d) Both aim to encourage the development of innovative products and technologies. e) The time frames are similar. CMHC's Healthy Housing Design Competition was announced on June 7 and is now being promoted. We understand from EMR that the Advanced Concepts program will be launched as soon as Green Plan funding approval is obtained, with an announcement likely occurring in late August. If there are no further delays in Green Plan approvals, it is likely that the majority of the 2nd stage competition activities for both programs will take place in the fall and early winter of The deadline for 2nd stage submissions to CMHC's competition is January 31/92, while the 2nd stage of the Advanced Concepts competition is expected to be completed in time to allow a March or April construction start.
4 4 3. How can the initiatives be implemented in a mutually complementary and supportive way? Much has already been done to ensure cooperation and complementarity. CMHC hosted a series of three bi-iateral meetings in the fall of 1990 with EMR, Environment Canada and CHBA to outline its plans for the 1991 competition. This was followed in the spring of 1991 by a series of four joint meetings, two hosted by EMR and two hosted by CMHC, in order to develop a Memorandum of Understanding. Numerous other informal meetings, telephone calls and exchanges of information have taken place regularly. CMHC participated in EMR's April 15 meeting at the Advanced House to discuss ideas for the Advanced Concepts Field Trials. EMR was invited to participate in the selection of a consultant to prepare competition documents for the Healthy Housing Design Competition. CHBA has invited CMHC to participate on the Project Selection Committee for EMR/CHBA's initiative. CHBA and EMR have assisted CMHC's promotional efforts through the provision of mailing labels. CMHC has incorporated broad participation by EMR, Environment Canada and key CHBA members in a focus group session held June 10 in ottawa to consult on CMHC's competition criteria. Beyond what has already been done, I am confident that the consensus which emerged at the June 22 meeting will facilitate continued coordination. The three agencies, plus Environment Canada, will be expected to work together during the implementation phases of the two initiatives and to coordinate eventual information transfer activities. 4. What action can be taken to ensure that there is an umbrella agreement which will allow for ongoing co-ordination and support between the two initiatives? The umbrella communications program outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding between EMR, Environment Canada and CMHC, in collaboration with CHBA, can serve this purpose. This MOU has been drafted by EMR and will be signed by CMHC, now that clarification of EMR's funding has been obtained. 5. What can be done to ensure that builders and others understand clearly the relationship between the two initiatives? As a result of the June 22 meeting, a CHBA brochure is being prepared, with assistance from CMHC and EMR, which will clarify for CHBA members the nature of the two initiatives. The brochure will indicate that concepts developed for one program will likely be applicable, with some modification, to the other, and therefore CHBA members may consider participating in both.
5 5 6. How does the CHHC initiative reflect the outcomes of the Housing Quality consultation process? CMHC's Healthy Housing Design Competition reflects the recommendations emerging from the Housing Quality Consultation in a number of ways. It demonstrates CMHC's commitment to a leadership role in the priority areas of research and information transfer. The competition takes explicit account of the trade-offs between increased quality and affordability by requiring that affordability be one of the essential criteria of the competition. The competition also addresses, in as complete and integrated a manner as possible, the complex issue of sustainable housing. 7. What steps can be taken to expedite the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between CKHC and EMR Canada? EMR has finalized the drafting of the MOU and have submitted this to CMHC for signature. Now that EMR has clarified that they expect to obtain Green Plan funding in the near future or will find alternate sources of funding from within EMR, CMHC is prepared to proceed with the signing of the MOU. I hope that these answers have satisfactorily addressed your questions. CMHC looks forward to continued cooperation with CHBA on issues pertaining to sustainable housing.