August 12, 2003
Rowhouse model illustrates how advanced technologies improve homes, reduce energy bills for homeowners
The Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH) has helped make possible a prototype next-generation home in Brooklyn, and on Saturday, August 9, the community got the chance to see what makes it special. At a dedication event, city officials and Habitat for Humanity-NYC staff ushered in an era of revival in the depressed Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, where Habitat is building 20 affordable rowhouses with innovations that offer homeowners an estimated 25% reduction in utility bills when compared to similar housing, and 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 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
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."
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.
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Content updated on 3/8/2005