Can Increasing Energy Performance Be a Key to Unlocking Rural Home Affordability?

Oct 02, 2020

This paper describes a research initiative designed to seek the balance point between up-front investments in improved energy performance and home affordability in support of a pilot, systems-based approach to more affordable homeownership. In a design-build studio format, the authors and their students have revised and constructed multiple versions of the same small, two bedroom prototype home developed for the context of a mixed-humid climate: one built to the Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS) standard and the other to the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) standard. By constructing two prototype homes on the same street and with similar orientation, but with differing energy related details, the authors are able to evaluate the initial cost of construction associated with achieving these two performance standards while simultaneously comparing the monthly energy savings afforded by each approach.

Keywords: Energy Efficiency, Home Affordability, Rural Home Ownership

David Hinson (Auburn University)
Rusty Smith (Auburn University Rural Studio)
Bruce Kitchell
Mackenzie Stagg (Auburn University Rural Studio)
Elizabeth Farrell Garcia (Auburn University Rural Studio)
Betsy Burnet
Presented at: 
2020 AIA/ACSA Intersections Research Conference: CARBON
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
The American Institute of Architects (AIA)
Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA)

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