Advanced Energy Builds Energy Star-Certified Affordable Housing Development in N.C.

By Lisa Iannucci, Green Building CorrespondentRaleigh, N.C.–Advanced Energy, a Raleigh-based nonprofit, completed the first large-scale, multifamily, mixed-income community in North Carolina to achieve Energy Star certification.The 168-unit Chavis Heights development located in downtown Raleigh features affordable housing town homes, condominiums–half of which are handicapped-accessible–as well as a senior center.“Building energy efficiency into low-income homes is not an impossible venture as some developers perceive it to be,” says Brian Coble, director of affordable housing programs at Advanced Energy. “By building affordable housing units to Energy Star standards, we not only make homes more efficient and more comfortable, but we also make the residents’ monthly bills more affordable in the long term.” To earn an Energy Star certification, a home must meet guidelines for energy efficiency set by the Environmental Protection Agency. These homes are at least 15 percent more energy-efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code (IRC), and include additional energy-saving features that typically make them 20 to 30 percent more efficient than standard homes.Energy-saving features at Chavis Heights include tight and properly insulated building shells, sealed and tested duct systems, high-efficiency windows, fresh-air ventilation, compact fluorescent lighting, and on-demand water heaters in the senior center. Residents can expect to save up to 15 percent on their energy bills.The project was funded by a Hope VI Grant from HUD and Progress Energy and was managed by Advanced Energy. The Raleigh Housing Authority was the developer of the project and it was designed by J.Davis, Architects. Raleigh-based Southern Energy Management did most of the on-site quality control and performance testing work.