Skip to main content

GreenBuild Community Open House

Faculty, staff, student, alumni, and community members are cordially invited to the GreenBuild Community Open House on May 19 and 20, 2018. The GreenBuild duplex is a pair of affordable, high-performance homes designed after the Penn State student team’s award-winning submission to the 2015 Department of Energy’s Race to Zero competition. The GreenBuild duplex has been made possible through a partnership between the State College Community Land Trust, Envinity, and Penn State's Stuckeman School, Hamer Center for Community Design, and Energy Efficient Housing Research group (EEHR).

Chris Hazel (M.Arch ’14) is the research technician for the Hamer Center of Community Design and EEHR. He commented: “Our primary goal is to be a conduit between community members and research. What we ultimately want is to connect students to community partners in order to advance the research, design, and implementation of affordable, energy-efficient, and healthful housing.” The Stuckeman School’s Hamer Center and EEHR conduct research but aim to create practical solutions that impact the community. As an example of this, the GreenBuild project will have a lasting impact on the community by educating Penn State students, the State College community, and beyond.

Hazel explained that the project was born from “a concern about energy burden.” He stated, “typically home owners should only spend 33% or less of their total income towards housing (and that includes cost of mortgage or rent, utilities, and energy).” He added, “that doesn’t always happen. Especially lower income families are spending almost 30% of their income just on energy.” The SCCLT had become very aware of the energy burden. That is when their conversation and collaboration with the Hamer Center and EEHR began. It just so happened that Penn State’s 2015 Race to Zero team (Heritage Homes), comprising more than 25 architecture and engineering students, had recently completed their award-winning competition project. This design became the inspiration for GreenBuild. Hazel added, “SCCLT has a huge portfolio of projects, but this was their first new build project.” He reflected, “It is a happy coincidence how everything aligned.”

The GreenBuild project is unique in many ways. A) It was inspired by student designs. B) It is an interesting example of how a research center can work with a non-profit land trust, builders, designers, architects, and engineers to find out what a solution is and deeply consider what everybody is trying to do. C) It is being used to educate people (students, home owners, home builders, other land trust organizations and the general public) by making the process and data transparent.

Hazel considers the education and engagement as the most important next step “because the GreenBuild project doesn’t do anything unless we tell others about the information.” Hazel posed the questions: “How do we learn from these homes? How do we also teach people from these homes?” His plan will include details on the design innovation, the design documentation, the evaluation and optimization. The materials compare “what happens in a typical home versus what happens in this home that make it different, or better.” Hazel explained: “unfortunately, we can’t have everyone walk through the home. So, a big task of mine has been documenting the construction through photos and video, so we can still talk about it later.” He is developing presentations about lessons learned from the GreenBuild project.

Hazel looks forward to an ongoing partnership with SCCLT, “as long as these homes exist, there will be coordination between SCCLT and EEHR.” “At the end of the day,” he said, “what we are looking to do is to understand affordable, energy efficient housing and inspire others to create similar projects.” Hazel reflected, “the most exciting part about the project is having something built from the ground up that I and my team helped to design.”

Come celebrate this great achievement and learn more about the impact students can have on their community. 

Open House Details

SCCLT Event Information: GreenBuild Community Open House

Date: Saturday and Sunday, May 19 & 20, 2018
Time: 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Location: 1394 University Drive, State College, PA
(Note: Parking is limited – walking, biking, or bus are encouraged)

Exterior view of SCCLT GreenBuild Duplex project under construction
Chris Hazel discussing SCCLT GreenBuild Duplex project with visitors in the house kitchen area
SCCLT GreenBuild Duplex visitor reading information poster in the house kitchen area