CCHT to open new net-zero energy-ready smart home

- Ottawa, Ontario

Expanding the scope of services offered to industry

Conceptual sketch of the net-zero energy-ready addition to the CCHT platform

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is upgrading the Canadian Centre for Housing Technology (CCHT) by building a semi-detached smart home for evaluation of low-energy solutions and technologies for the multi-unit market. The new facility will include a power pad to connect to external power sources and sinks.

Housing technologies, innovation and entrepreneurship

To be completed by spring 2017, the new building will support industry in assessing, testing and developing technologies in different areas, including exterior insulation systems, renewables, energy storage, electric vehicle power, micro-grid applications, and smart-building control. This new capacity will bring CCHT to the leading edge of building technology innovation by providing a semi-detached smart-home that is net-zero energy-ready.

Joint development of new products

The new semi-detached smart home will be constructed under Part 9 of the National Building Code and will be added to the existing twin detached test homes and InfoCentre at CCHT on the NRC's Montreal Road campus in Ottawa. It will provide for the assessment and demonstration of intelligent building and smart-grid integration technologies while addressing 2 market areas: detached and multi-unit homes, and it will enable the assessment of how renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, can be seamlessly integrated into the existing electrical grid using intelligent load-management strategies. The new building will also allow for the expansion of existing services to better serve manufacturers of building-envelope wall components and window technologies.

About the Canadian Centre for Housing Technology

Currently, the CCHT facility consists of twin detached test homes, an InfoCentre to showcase innovative housing technologies, and a FlexHouse to showcase features enabling aging persons to remain at home. It was constructed in 1998 as a platform to accelerate the market acceptance of technologies that could be expanded in response to market demands. The CCHT was developed and has operated as a partnership between Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), and the NRC.

Residential renovation market

Affordability, energy usage, land limitations and urban infrastructure costs are key issues driving increased development of multi-unit residential buildings. Through internal and external stakeholder consultations to assess industry needs, it has been determined that product development for both detached and multi-unit residential buildings needs to be supported.

Though the existing twin test homes of the CCHT were built to R2000 standards and were the top energy-efficient homes in 1998, new detached homes built today are now more efficient and are exceeding the base energy performance of the existing CCHT twin test homes. At the same time, renovated older homes are catching up to the energy performance of CCHT twin test homes. In this context, the existing CCHT twin test homes are more representative of current building stock in Canada and thus are valuable to support the large residential renovation market in Canada.

Continuing with the leading-edge nature of the CCHT twin test home facility in its time, the new semi-detached smart home will be built to the most recent R2000 standard to achieve a performance target of 50% better than code. This standard is considered to be the basis for net-zero-ready construction.

Facility features

The facility will include:

  • renewable energy systems
  • intelligent energy management/smart-grid operation
  • electric vehicle charging infrastructure and battery storage
  • data acquisition and control systems

The project supports the work of the NRC's High-performance Buildings program, which promotes the development and commercialization of retrofitted energy-efficiency technologies. It also contributes to the NRC's research and technology organization (RTO) model of creating an ecosystem enabling innovators to grow.

If you are interested in providing input during our design phase and learning more about how this new facility may support your business research and technology development needs, please contact one of our experts, or visit the CCHT website.

Contact us

Heather Knudsen, Research Council Officer
National Research Council Canada
Telephone: 613-998-6808

Christopher Pezoulas, Director, Business Development
Telephone: 613-993-9502