October 26, 1998
HUD/PATH Book Spotlights 63 Award-Winning, Affordable Housing Projects Made Possible by Innovative Technologies
The Department of Housing and Urban Development released a study in October describing 63 award-winning housing projects that employ new ideas in housing development, design, and construction to lower home costs and increase the possibility of U. S. homeownership.
Representatives of HUD and board members of the National Partners in Homeownership chose the featured projects. The National Partners in Homeownership is composed of 65 public, private and nonprofit organizations that have pledged to work together to add eight million new homeowners by the year 2000.
Titled "Building Innovation for Homeownership," the book presents the housing projects according to the innovations they employ. The categories include: modular construction; energy-efficient design and construction; structural insulated panels; innovative site design or development; steel framing; sharing of resources through cohousing; panelized construction; innovative masonry or concrete construction; sustainable or "green" design and construction; and HUD-Code manufactured housing. Cost of the homes built with the technologies were all below the median costs of new family housing.
Winning projects used a wide variety of innovative techniques. Twenty-four of the 63 projects used factory built components, such as manufactured housing and modular construction. Other projects worked to promote energy efficiency, sustainable design and construction, and innovative site design.
One development Tamarack Point, 29 three-bedroom homes in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, for instance, won the designation as Colorado's first "E-Star Subdivision" by the State Office of Energy Conservation by tackling issues such as site design and impact, thermal envelopes, mechanical systems, indoor air quality, water heating, appliances, lighting, structural framing, foundations, insulation and water use.
The builders combined passive solar architecture, super-insulation, gasketed air-tight drywall, heat-recovery ventilation, sealed combustion heating appliances, sealed combustion heating appliances, high-efficiency lighting, water-efficient fixtures, no volatile organic compound (VOC) paints and remanufactured and recycled building products to produce a healthy, resource-efficient home. The units cost approximately $128,000 each, about 79 percent of the reported median.
Non-profit sponsors developed 26 of the award-winning projects. Habitat for Humanity International, the initiative to help people to house themselves, was especially receptive to new technology. Nine Habitat developments used a variety of techniques to reduce costs including adobe, steel framing, straw bale, "green" building materials and mortarless concrete blocks.
Twenty five of the developments cited in the HUD/PATH report are part of inner-city neighborhood revitalization efforts. One project, Toledo, Ohio's Cone Stone Development, was described as "a breakthrough in providing affordable housing. The local housing authority, interested in building 20-40 homes on inner-city lots, found that concrete module techniques--previously used only for commercial construction--could save approximately 15 percent over conventional site-built housing.
According to the study, the Ohioans used 12 concrete cube modules to create a 1,300-square foot house. Modules were craned into place with penetrations between the modules aligned. The front and back of the house was then closed in with steel studs, sheathing and siding. Roofing and interior partitions were then constructed. The thermal mass of the concrete provided heat storage for energy conservation. A second mortgage program was provided to reduce the price of the houses to approximately $63,000, 57 percent of the reported median.
All "Building Innovation for Homeownership" project profiles include pictures and descriptions of housing type, technology used, design, project size, housing price, and project financing. Both technology and specific project contacts accompany the profiles.
"Building Innovation for Homeownership," published by HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research and PATH, can be ordered by check, money order, Visa or MasterCard for five dollars from HUD USER. All orders must be prepaid. Requests can be sent to HUD USER, P.O. Box 6091, Rockville, MD 20849. Credit card orders can be placed online at http://www.huduser.org/publications/destech.html or by calling 1-800-245-2691, or 1-800-483-2209 (TDD).
Content updated on 3/8/2005