About the Canadian Centre for Housing Technology

Twin houses research facility


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At the CCHT research facility in Ottawa, twin test houses have been built to measure the effects of new energy technologies for houses. Located on the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) campus in Ottawa, the Centre’s goal is to accelerate the development and acceptance of new housing technology into the marketplace.

The twin houses are built to R2000 standards and provide a carefully controlled and monitored environment that simulates energy use by a typical family. Having two identical houses allows researchers to change one variable in a house and measure the changes in energy use compared with the other house.

To replicate the conditions of a typical suburban home, a “family” of four live in the house. Two “adults” simulated by 60W light bulbs and 40W light bulbs representing children give off the same amount of heat as a family would.  During the day, the “family” moves from one room to another, and at night they are moved up to their bedrooms.

All of the typical activities of occupants are mimicked. This includes water use, energy consumption by the major appliances in the house such as the dishwasher and the stove, and use of smaller appliances like toasters and microwaves.

The site also features four serviced lots where industry partners can develop and build new concepts to explore specific test and research challenges such as geothermal or solar installations. CCHT experts conduct rigorous side-by-side comparisons of new technologies with conventional systems.

The CCHT supports manufacturers in their product research and development, and helps bring insights to builders and homeowners alike. Since its launch in 1998, more than 50 housing-related technologies have been assessed at the Centre. Products tested range from energy-efficient lighting and high-performance windows to innovative natural gas systems.

The centre is jointly operated by the National Research Council, Natural Resources Canada and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. For a list of current and past projects, study results and information on partnership opportunities, visit the Canadian Centre for Housing Technology website.

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