On Tuesday, a unique partnership of local energy experts will come together to assist Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County’s with meeting its goal to build the most energy efficient, affordable, multifamily housing project in Southern California.
Habitat for Humanity SSBC’s 12-unit affordable housing development under construction at 822 E. Canon Perdido St. is attempting to achieve the rigorous Passive House U.S. certification. Homes certified to this standard have a low environmental impact and use very small amounts of energy for heating and cooling. Achieving this standard is very challenging and requires building design and construction techniques that go far beyond current California energy standards.
From 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, representatives from Allen Associates’ Building & Solar Division, the Chumash Community Energy Partnership and the County of Santa Barbara’s emPower will donate their expertise to test the performance of the buildings for their air leakage and heating/cooling system performance. Three teams will use diagnostic testing equipment including blower doors, duct blasters and infrared cameras to assess performance.
Depending on the results of these tests, the team will be working to correct any deficiencies they find, e.g. implementing air sealing gaps in the walls and/or duct systems.
Habitat for Humanity SSBC’s goal for their third and largest affordable housing development is to construct homes that are environmentally friendly and affordable for the homeowners to purchase and maintain. Using the Passive Home principles, the 12 new townhomes will have a 70 to 80 percent reduction in energy use over the current Title 24 energy code.
— Karen Feeney is the marketing manager for Allen Associates.