Innovation for sustainable, affordable living

Dorimène housing cooperative

One Québec City community is rewriting the rulebook to tackle rising energy costs and meet the growing demand for affordable housing. 

Homes and buildings generate nearly 30% of annual global CO2 emissions and account for up to 40% of Canada’s national energy consumption. Fiducie foncière communautaire Québec received GMF Sustainable Affordable Housing funding to study heat recovery systems as well as a $500,000 pilot grant to support innovative GHG-reducing construction. As a result, the organization is able to provide some of the first affordable housing units with net-zero energy objectives at rents 59% lower than the median in the community of Dorimène. 

Focused on a 16-unit housing cooperative where half the units are dedicated to vulnerable households, the pilot project combines conventional energy efficiency measures – such as thermal insulation and proper ventilation – with innovations including photovoltaic solar panels, heat recovery, geothermal energy storage and phytoremediation to achieve five-times lower than typical energy consumption. The approach is highly replicable and can scale easily to other municipalities across the country. 

Achieving the net-zero energy objective leads to immediate savings, which has a real impact on the quality of life of the building’s residents. It illustrates how investing in energy-efficiency goals provides multiple social and economic benefits — creating jobs, meeting environmental objectives, and providing affordable and sustainable homes for residents.

Anticipated results  

  • 5 times lower total energy use intensity (TEUI) than a typical building 
  • 59% lower rents than the median for 8 of 16 units  
  • $14,637 in energy cost savings for the cooperative