BURNABY (NEWS1130) – They will be fulfilling the role of lab mice for a year. A couple from the Lower Mainland is taking part in research for a new type of laneway housing, developed by a number of partners, including SFU and the City of Vancouver.

The houses are a storey and a half high, with about 600 square feet of living space. They’re different from the laneway houses already approved by the city, with energy efficient technology and a green design.

The proto-type was shown next to Vancouver House during the 2010 Games. They’re touted by the city as green and affordable. Developers, though, say each house would cost around $300,000 dollars.

Ura Jones will be living in the East Van model. “We are hoping to make a conscious, energy efficient effort.  That’s the whole point.  And I think that it’s going to be a challenge on the level of the space.”

But she says it’s a challenge she and her partner, Mike Higgins, are welcoming. “The design of the home just makes it so welcoming.  It makes it feel better and there’s lots of light and energy flow, so I think it’s going to be a really nice experience to live in it even though it’s a small footprint.”

These units are more intricate than laneway houses already approved by the city, which rent for at least $1,000.