Harmony Habitat responds to climate change

Tatha Cornish

Harmony Habitat Sustainable Building Solutions

Wednesday, April 10 2019

The Islands Trust has recently joined a growing list of communities worldwide that have declared a climate change emergency.

Can the way we design and build our homes be part of the response to this crisis? Is it possible to decrease our ecological footprint while increasing the health, economic resilience and emergency preparedness of our community? Gabriola based Harmony Habitat thinks so.

Harmony Habitat is a volunteer run, registered non-profit company, formed to help reduce the toxicity, pollution and waste associated with home building. To this end, our Eco Healthy Homes Project aims to make deep green homes more attainable. Since the project’s conception in 2014, over 40 volunteers have helped us shape our organization and plan for the Eco Healthy Homes Project. 

By deep green we mean energy efficient and much more. We believe that research-informed, deep green design can transform the negative health, climate, ecological and economic impacts usually associated with home building into opportunities for social and environmental benefit.

Our concern is that most building products have hidden health and environmental consequences from manufacturing through to disposal. Most modern homes waste energy and water, and leave households unnecessarily vulnerable to chemical off-gassing, mould, service outages, wind, earthquakes and high repair costs.

Designed to work with nature’s laws, deep green homes can harvest heat, light, energy and water from nature, offer comfort in extreme weather events, provide durable strength and beauty, long-term affordability and contribute to a greener and more local supply chain.

Currently, deep green building is impeded by a labyrinth of technical, building code, supply, and cost barriers and the risks of experimentation. To address these conundrums, Harmony Habitat’s multi-disciplinary advisors and volunteers will develop, demonstrate and share replicable solutions to help make deep green building easier and more affordable. 

The Eco Healthy Homes Project will be beneficial for Gabriola because it will support meaningful, healthy jobs and equitable access to healthy homes that have a smaller impact on the environment, the local water supply and landfill costs.

We’re getting ready for the formal demonstration phase which will publicize the challenges, solutions and opportunities discovered in the process of building a 575 sq. ft. demonstration home. The home design and the site are ready for summer/fall construction. 

Our volunteers have been creating a framework to give this project a voice. With the plan to build this summer, it is time to expand. We are now inviting new, inspired minds to join our mission. Harmony Habitat needs volunteers for:

Videography and photography

Website help

Writing (blog, press, documentation)

Volunteer coordination

Administration

Fundraising

To get in touch or to read more about the Eco Healthy Homes Project please visit HarmonyHabitat.ca.

Tatha Cornish is one of three volunteer co-directors at Harmony Habitat Sustainable Building Solutions.