MENU

‘Back to the Basics’ of Affordable Housing with Les Bluestone

In a city as crowded and expensive as New York City, there is a growing need for access to safe and affordable housing. With this demand comes great innovation, as well as roadblocks and challenges between construction, financing, and policy.

In this month’s Buildings + Beyond episode, Robb sits down with Les Bluestone, co-founder of Blue Sea Development. Les has been leading the way in affordable, green building in New York City since the 80’s. He gives us a brief history lesson on affordable housing in NYC, and provides us with his outlook of what development and construction will look like in 5 years and beyond.

(more…)

Integrating Social Equity into Green Building – Part 1: “Just Sustainability”

The causes of social inequity and injustice are deeply rooted within the systems that shape our society, including the built environment. The built environment represents the literal foundation of our society’s presence in the world – from the smallest rural community to the largest city. The way in which buildings are designed, constructed, and maintained has a tremendous influence on the equity (or inequity), and the justice (or injustice), of our society. The way we build and the strategies we employ can either continue to worsen social issues or can lay the groundwork for significant progress to be made on these issues in places around the world.

The building industry continues to make progress on reducing negative environmental impacts of the built environment. In fact, we’re increasingly seeing practices and strategies go beyond “sustainable” to “regenerative,” with such goals as net-positive energy, water, and waste. Now, the industry is reckoning with the urgent need to integrate social equity into its definition of sustainability in order to also reduce negative social impacts of the built environment. We might accelerate the process by framing the goal as “net-positive equity.” (more…)

The Numbers Are In! NYC Passive House Performance Data

In a collaborative effort that merged financing and energy use analysis, the New York City Passive House industry finally has performance data. Working together with Bright Power, The Community Preservation Corporation, and NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development, this analysis is the first of its kind.

Why does this matter?

Energy Use Intensity (EUI) measures energy consumption on a per square foot basis to compare buildings and allows interested parties to gauge one building’s usage to another (or to a group of buildings with a similar use type). The study team compared the actual EUI of six completed Passive House-certified and Passive House-like buildings against recently completed multifamily code-built buildings. Information was gleaned from the EnergyScoreCards database and the Passive House (PH) target. The weather normalized data indicates the Passive House and Passive House-like buildings are performing much better than the comparable code-built group, but are not quite as efficient as the Passive House threshold. Industry leaders have recognized this performance gap – between predictive assumptions that rely on standardized patterns of use and the real-life habits of actual people living in the building. This gap has been a hot topic  at the past several New York Passive House conferences. The results from the current analysis provide a starting point now, so the industry can focus on strategies to continue to reduce EUIs.

(more…)

HUD Innovation in Affordable Housing (IAH) Final Event Results & Gallery

[av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=”]


Announcing the Winners of the 2016 HUD Innovation in Affordable Housing (IAH) Competition

First Place: University of Texas at Austin
Runner-Up: University of Maryland

Congratulations to the IAH winners, and to all the members of the final four teams on their outstanding solutions! (more…)

HUD’s 2015 IAH Graduate Student Design Competition: SWA Supported

2015_IAH_Banner

HUD’s 2015 Innovation in Affordable Housing student design and planning competition has hit full stride. Building on its successful inaugural run in 2014, this year’s competition has university representation from over 20 states. Strategic teams of 3-5 graduate students and a faculty advisor, primarily from architecture, urban planning, real estate, business, and environmental engineering programs, are challenged with redesigning a 300-unit senior housing property for the Houma-Terrebonne Housing Authority (HTHA). Competitors will craft actionable solutions that consider economic, social, and ecologic issues unique to the region’s affordable senior housing sector. Successful projects will address needs of senior residents (quality of life), site and building codes, finance strategies (incl. leveraging partnerships), integrated energy efficiency technology, and community connectivity. Following a rigorous review process, select finalists will travel to Houma, LA in March for a site-visit intended to prepare competitors for refining their final submission. The winning entry will be chosen by a judging panel of industry thought-leaders, and awarded $20,000 at a ceremony in Washington, DC ($10,000 to the runner-up).

Steven Winter Associates, Inc. (SWA) recognizes the critical need for global availability of quality, affordable housing. Our support of HUD’s competition will advance studies in this emerging market by initiating a new generation of student-professionals into the industry. SWA fulfilled a lead role in competition development, outlining the competitive structure, project submission requirements and guidelines, and final judging criteria. Additionally, SWA spearheaded all marketing efforts for the competition, including a robust registration outreach campaign consisting of email blasts, phone communication, social media, and direct mailing. Work on the IAH competition demonstrates the firm’s continued support of student and professional competitions, adding to past programming efforts with the SBIC’s Beyond Green™ High Performance Building Awards and the Housing Authority of Norwalk’s Affordable Housing Design Competition. The firm’s involvement reinforces SWA’s commitment to progressing innovation in high performance building practices, and validates SWA’s reputation as an industry authority on sustainable multifamily building science.

Visit the the #IAH2015 website here: bit.ly/IAH2015