ADVOCATING GAME-CHANGING INITIATIVES IN RESIDENTIAL ENERGY-EFFICIENCY

The Sustainable Housing Initiative (SHI) was formed in 2012 at the Pennsylvania State University as a response to energy and environment-related challenges in the residential sector and to discuss the potential for a game changing initiative in the areas of housing and sustainability. The SHI builds off of past Penn State successes, including the 2007 and 2009 Penn State Solar Decathlon Homes, the Union County Energy Efficient Housing Program projects, the American Indian Housing Initiative, and the GridStar Smart Grid Experience Center modular home at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Each project demonstrates the importance of a holistic approach and the necessity for establishing local connections and reinforcing community development in realizing a replicable and “scale-able” model for sustainable housing. The SHI working group consists of members with a diverse range of research expertise – from building science and design, to community behavior and materials research. Over the past years, this working group has collaborated to identify a vision for the Initiative at Penn State, and this vision developed out of a significant overlap in interests - these include sustainability, specifically social sustainability related to community and occupant / resident impacts, energy efficiency and affordability.
The goal of this initiative is ambitious - to initiate a process that will radically transform the residential building sector, with partners that will scale-up innovation to a regional and eventually national or international scale. There is significant interest and expertise related to these ideals at Penn State notably within the Stuckeman School.
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