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Fall 2003

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News and Events

Brooklyn Habitat Home Sets New Standard in NY

On Saturday, August 9, local builders and Brooklyn residents were invited to explore the neighborhood's first affordable, single family, ENERGY STAR ® qualified home. Constructed by Habitat for Humanity-New York City with technical assistance from PATH, the model illustrates how advanced technologies improve homes and reduce energy bills for homeowners. At the dedication event, city officials and Habitat staff ushered in an era of revival in the depressed Bedford-Stuyvesant community. In this neighborhood, Habitat is building 20 affordable rowhouses with innovations that offer homeowners an estimated 25% reduction in utility bills when compared to similar housing, in addition to healthier, safer, higher quality homes.

PATH is working with Habitat to bring cutting-edge homebuilding science and advanced technologies to the rowhouses. PATH-profiled technologies in the home include: fiber cement siding, water-saving plumbing, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, non-polluting paints, windows that block excess sun heat, and ENERGY STAR qualified appliances. The Brooklyn project is one in a growing list of collaborations between PATH and Habitat for Humanity to bring the many benefits of advanced homebuilding technologies to the affordable housing market.

"The technologies that have worked for this Habitat development can be successful in any residential building project," notes David Engel, Director of Affordable Housing Research in HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research. "These are proven technologies that merit much wider use. Lower utility bills and higher quality homes make sense for all of us."

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz addresses crowd at dedication event.PATH provided design specifications and assessments for the construction of the rowhouses to reduce costs while providing for homeowner comfort. Habitat volunteers conducted a 5-day building blitz last spring, when many of the rowhouses were framed. A PATH team visited the sites afterwards and identified areas for further improvement. Areas of focus included air sealing, a high efficiency heat and hot water system, improved ventilation to help remove moisture and pollutants from the home, advanced framing techniques to allow for better insulation, and ENERGY STAR appliances and lights. The PATH team trained Habitat volunteers in better construction techniques to raise the overall energy efficiency and quality of each rowhouse.

With these enhancements, as well as additional technical support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the rowhouses will meet the stringent requirements for the ENERGY STAR Homes label.

"Controlling Indoor Air Quality," Latest PATH Article in Professional Builder Magazine

Proper ventilation controls indoor air quality by diluting pollutants and removing them from the home. Infiltration usually provides older homes with adequate though uncontrolled ventilation, but improvements in construction and energy-efficient designs have resulted in today's "tighter" buildings, which often require dedicated ventilation systems. This article examines recent PATH field studies of three mechanical ventilation strategies.

Each month, the PATH column in Professional Builder highlights advanced homebuilding techniques, showcases construction projects that utilize innovative products and designs, and profiles industry leaders and researchers who are developing and implementing cutting-edge technologies, systems, and industry practices. Read the September 2003 article.

Calculate Building Material Durability and Cost-Effectiveness with NEST Software

NEST is a set of tools and resources designed to help homeowners choose the right amount of durability for their homes. By examining factors such as the structure, location, materials, and age of a house, NEST can find the durable materials that will help to maintain a home at the lowest cost. NEST currently includes two tools: NEST Builder and Durability Doctor.

NEST Builder: Specify the size and layout of your home and which type of roofing, siding, windows, and garage doors you have. As you enter data and select options, a custom picture of your home appears. NEST uses your own home to answer all your questions about durability.

Durability Doctor: Though durable products may cost more initially, their longer service-life can pay off in the long run. Compute the value durability adds to your home. Compare your current house with exterior options that are the most durable, have the lowest first cost, or have the lowest monthly cost over the life of your home.

Begin using these online tools.

NSF Announces February 2004 Housing Research Agenda Workshop

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Housing Research Agenda Workshop will be held February 12-14, 2004, in Orlando, Florida. Focus areas for the workshop include:

  • Construction Management and Production

  • Structural Design and Materials

  • Building Enclosures, Utilities, and Energy Systems

  • Community and Economic Impacts of Housing Technology

  • Systems Interactions and "Whole House" Approach

Content updated on 3/5/2004

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