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Designs 2018, 2(3), 26;

The Design of Net-Zero-Energy Affordable Housing in Philadelphia

Jefferson-East Falls Campus, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19144, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 June 2018 / Revised: 28 June 2018 / Accepted: 17 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Sustainable Building Design, Construction and Operation)
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Sustainable buildings are often considered expensive alternatives to conventional designs. However, a decline in costs associated with materials, technology, labor and whole building approaches make green homes realistic to construct even within low-income neighborhoods. This can address the critical shortage of affordable housing in cities, and the emerging recognition of their impact on healthy communities. This study proposes an affordable and energy-efficient design for a low-income rowhouse in Philadelphia as a city having the highest poverty rate in the U.S. The design can be replicated as an investment in the future where people live with net zero energy and zero emissions. Furthermore, residents have the opportunity to create a more vibrant and healthy neighborhood economy by investing their savings locally. The results showed that the proposed prototype has a payback of approximately just over 16 years. Although this seems long, the building is affordable since the ongoing operating expenses are significantly less than a typical house. This is achieved by the combination of an efficient building design, onsite power generation, water conservation and rainwater harvesting. The payback period may suggest that larger-scale projects than just a single urban residence (two residences and larger) are needed to improve investment paybacks. This is discussed. Considering the added benefits (energy and water) that will continue after the payback period, the design can be a pioneer for low-income neighborhoods. View Full-Text
Keywords: net-zero buildings; affordable housing; whole building performance; life-cycle assessment net-zero buildings; affordable housing; whole building performance; life-cycle assessment

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Ozcan-Deniz, G.; Fryer, R.; de Castro Amorim Ferreira, A. The Design of Net-Zero-Energy Affordable Housing in Philadelphia. Designs 2018, 2, 26.

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