A Step Beyond Traditional Approaches to Meeting Energy Efficiency Standards

Photo by Jacob Porter Photography

November 14, 2018- SAHF and its members are committed to the sustainability of our planet and our communities.  Members act on that commitment with a Big Reach goal of reducing energy and water consumption in their multifamily properties 20% by 2020 and seeking new strategies to promote energy and water efficiency in new and existing affordable rental homes.  The Community Builders truly pushed the envelope on energy efficiency in the design and construction of Hillcrest Residences, which is certified by the Passive House Institute of the US (PHIUS). 

The Passive Building Standard takes a rigorous, performance-based approach to energy efficiency, with building performance criteria for five principles: airtightness, ventilation, waterproofing, heating and cooling, and electrical loads.  Together, these principles produce properties with extremely low heating and cooling loads that keep residents comfortable and energy bills low.  The Passive House principles can also reduce operating costs, increase the resilience of the housing, and better steward public resources. Last evening, the property was recognized with a 2018 AHF Readers' Choice award. 

Hillcrest Residences is a 66-unit mixed-income property serving seniors in Pittsburgh, PA, and is the largest PHIUS-certified building in North America. Hillcrest Residences met the Passive Building Standard through a mix of air sealing, continuous insulation, triple-pane windows, high performance doors, energy recovery ventilation, high efficiency domestic hot water systems, and Energy Star appliances.  In addition to serving the property’s energy efficiency targets, the energy recovery ventilation system also promotes excellent indoor air quality for residents by continuously filtering and supplying fresh air. 

Driven by its mission to create stronger communities, The Community Builders went beyond achieving energy efficiency standards and embraced a number of additional green building principles to create an environment where residents can thrive. The property is close to public transportation and neighborhood retail and dining options.  It also features a community garden and offers amenities that include an outdoor terrace, a business center, a fitness room, and a private room for health services.   This holistic approach to healthy and sustainable housing is a model for high-quality affordable housing for the future.

Congratulations to The Community Builders on a well-deserved Green Building award! 

-Becky Schaaf, Senior Vice President, Energy