Syracuse Center of Excellence team receives NYSERDA funding to develop designs for six high-performance homes
Syracuse Center of Excellence team receives NYSERDA funding to develop designs for six high-performance homesFebruary 21, 2008Martin Wallsmwalls@syracusecoe.org
Designs for a new generation of energy-efficient “green” homes will be developed by a collaborative team associated with the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (Syracuse CoE).
The team will design as many as six new homes supported by as much as $550,000 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). In addition, the Syracuse CoE will provide up to $100,000 in incentives to build as many as 10 homes in Syracuse’s Near Westside neighborhood, using designs developed by the collaboration.
CDH Energy will lead the project, which is called the Home Performance Improvement Challenge (HomePIC). Additional team members include Northeast Green Building Consulting LLC, Camroden Associates, Syracuse University and the Building Performance Contractors Association.
Home builders will be recruited to participate in the HomePIC project. The team is especially interested in engaging builders that construct affordable homes in urban neighborhoods, such as Syracuse’s Near Westside. Home HeadQuarters Inc. has committed to participate in the project.
“This is an outstanding team that is a shining example of the capabilities of our members,” says Edward Bogucz, executive director of the Syracuse CoE. “Our team is sure to develop designs that will strengthen our region’s reputation for innovation in green building and technology.”
High-performance houses take advantage of many “green” features that result in a durable, well-insulated and air-tight home. Some of these features improve a building’s “envelope” (the roof, walls, door and windows). NYSERDA encourages building teams to consider advanced framing techniques (that maintain the thermal barrier and minimize leakage), continuous insulation systems and cellulose insulation.
Other efforts toward energy-efficient homes concentrate on water and heating systems. To this end, NYSERDA encourages building teams to incorporate high-efficiency and properly sized heating and cooling systems, on-demand hot water, whole-house recovery ventilation systems and hot water heat recovery systems.
“Improving the energy efficiency and environmental performance of homes is a very high priority for New York State,” says Paul D. Tonko, president and CEO of NYSERDA. “This green revitalization project will not only lower energy costs and create healthier living environments for residents of these affordable green homes, it will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming, help revitalize Syracuse’s Near Westside community and work toward Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s `15 by 15′ goal to reduce electricity use.
“I am proud to be a partner with the Syracuse Center of Excellence team in building a stronger, more sustainable community and environment for all,” Tonko says. “This action invests in a strong societal commitment to future generations.”
The HomePIC project team recently completed a similar NYSERDA-sponsored project. The High Environmental Performance (HEP) house project developed a design for a new home, built in Fayetteville, N.Y.
The HomePIC project will extend the skills and experience deployed in the HEP house into the mainstream housing market. The goal of the HomePIC project is to work with builders that construct affordable homes between 1,500 and 2,500 square feet and that are interested in achieving better energy performance from existing designs.
“Our goal is to work closely with builders so they are comfortable incorporating high performance features into their standard building practices,” says Hugh Henderson, principal of CDH Energy and leader of the HomePIC project team.
The NYSERDA grant will pay builders a $10,000 incentive to construct the first demonstration home of each design developed by the HomePIC team. In addition, the Syracuse CoE has committed to provide as much as $100,000 in incentives to build up to 10 new design homes in Syracuse’s Near Westside neighborhood.
The HomePIC project includes several tasks to help builders develop the technical skills needed to incorporate energy-saving features into home designs. The team will provide technical assistance in energy modeling, thermal analysis, construction details and energy monitoring of new homes in order to demonstrate cost-effective methods that can achieve energy efficiency in all residential construction. The project also will measure performance and document costs so that results from HomePIC homes can be communicated to the wider building industry.
The High Performance New Buildings Program was established by NYSERDA to encourage energy-efficient design and building and to communicate the long-term advantages of building to higher energy efficiency standards. Energy efficiency is a key element of green building projects that can meet the requirements of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
Homes constructed as part of the HomePIC project will be designed to achieve a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score of 93. A HERS score is similar to the miles-per-gallon rating for a car. Each 1-point change in HERS score corresponds to a 5 percent increment in energy efficiency. A home with a HERS score of 93 is 30 percent more efficient than one that receives a score of 86, which is the minimum required to earn the “Energy Star” designation.
Design, construction and performance data of completed homes will be available to builders and homebuyers on the NYSERDA website (http://www.nyserda.org).
The Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (http://syracusecoe.org) is a federation of more than 170 businesses and institutions that collaborate on sustainable innovations to improve built and urban environments. Members of the Syracuse CoE federation work on research, development and educational projects relating to clean and renewable energy, indoor environmental quality and water resources.