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Training Opportunity

The HUD Sustainable Construction in Indian Country initiative is kicking off its training series! The training, Sustainable Construction in Indian Country - Assessing Sustainable-Built and Conventional Housing Buildings, is designed to help tribal communities achieve an overall, energy-efficient housing stock with control over energy costs, more durable and healthy housing, and a lighter environmental footprint.
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Elder Housing Sunrise Acres
November 27, 2012
Akwesasne Housing Authority Hogansburg, NY


Exterior view of a single-story 2-bedroom apartment in a 4-unit multifamily building, featuring a recessed front porch with railings.
Phase 1 Elder Housing

The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe is located in New York and Canada, along the U.S.-Canadian border, on the St. Lawrence River. As its location suggests, this community is located in a cold climate. Over the course of a year, the nearest weather station (about 13 miles away) recorded 6,588 heating degree days and 574 cooling degree days. Degree days provide an indication of how long and intense the heating and cooling seasons are in a given area, and are used to help track how electricity and gas usage corresponds to seasonal weather patterns.

In the summer of 2011, the St. Regis Mohawk's Akwesasne Housing Authority (AHA) completed construction of a high performance, energy- and resource-efficient housing development for seniors. The development features 20 residential units configured as single-story 2-bedroom apartments in 4-unit multifamily buildings. The development also includes a training center. The buildings were constructed using insulated concrete form (ICF) walls and are heated & cooled by a geothermal system. Other high performance technologies and strategies include metal roofs, blown-in cellulose insulation (6 inches over fiberglass batts), insulated slab foundations, low-emissivity (low-e) windows, solar tube system domestic hot water, ENERGY STAR® rated appliances, and CFL lighting. The development also features six photovoltaic arrays (each producing 5.04 kilowatts) to help reduce electricity costs. Funding for the development was provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act.

AHA collected utility data on the new development for use in comparing the operating costs associated with its older elderly multifamily units, and as a means of determining the most cost-effective retrofits. AHA reached out to the Sustainable Construction in Indian Country (SCinIC) initiative for assistance in modeling this data comparison and recommending energy cost reduction measures (ECRMs). The SCinIC team visited AHA July 31-August 1. Team members toured the new units and training facility, visited the largest hydropower project in the United States (a joint project with Canada), and collected some additional data.

The base multifamily units (used for comparison) were built in 1998. They also feature a2-bedroom layout, are similar in size to the new units, and are configured as 4-unit single story buildings. The comparison units are of typical wood frame construction with siding over insulating house wrap over oriented strand board (OSB) sheathing. The roofs are asphalt shingle with R-38 insulation above the ceiling. The slab foundations are insulated and windows are double-pane glass in vinyl frames. The units are heated and cooled using individual kerosene-oil window units; electric water heaters provide hot water. The older units did not yet have ENERGY STAR-rated appliances, but did have some compact fluorescent lighting.

According to SCinIC's energy analysis, in one year, each of the older buildings expended $8,176 in heating and electricity costs, while each of the new buildings required only $4,110 in energy costs – a 58 percent reduction. Part of the decrease can be attributed to lower meter costs and lower rate cost. A report will be issued outlining energy cost reduction measures that AHA can apply in its older units, thus complementing the successes achieved in its new units.

http://www.akwehsg.org/
http://www.srmt-nsn.gov/

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14380 S. Farm Road Multifamily Housing
November 27, 2012
Cocopah Indian Housing and Development Somerton, AZ


Picture of a Building

The Cocopah Indian Tribe, in southwestern Arizona, is committed to providing its members with safe, affordable, healthy, and energy efficient housing. This vision should encourage members living on the Reservation to remain and encourage members’ now living off- Reservation to return. As part of this vision, the Cocopah Indian Housing and Development (CIHAD) decided to explore various options to retrofit an existing 2 story 8 unit garden apartment building with more energy efficient sustainable features.

The Cocopah Reservation is located in a low-lying desert with an extremely hot-dry climate. Geographical location and weather directly influences energy consumption and costs in buildings. For the Cocopah Tribe, the largest category for energy consumption and cost is space cooling. Utilities costs are the second largest costs for households after mortgages and rents. Any retrofitting to make homes more energy efficient and affordable creates a win situation for the Tribe and household occupants.

This assessment provides information on the most economically feasible upgrade options for this garden apartment building. This assessment provides information and strategies on how to reduce the annual operation costs through load reductions, energy efficiency improvements, and renewable energy resources. It presents an energy assessment analysis on the Building’s design and load consumption before and after the installation of energy efficient sustainable features. The comparison provides information for determining which of the energy efficiency strategies would likely result in the most effective savings on energy consumption and cost and makes recommendations for upgrades based on project payback periods.

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Kekyajek Odanek Elder Housing
August 6, 2012
Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Dowagiac, MI


Picture of a Building

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi in Michigan constructed 20 single-family elder units in 2005 as part of an ongoing community master plan for Pokegnek Edawat Dowagiac. Key sustainable elements of this phase of the master plan included: dense deep-rooted vegetation, permeable pavement, clustering and placement of houses to preserve topography and existing vegetation, rain gardens, bioswales, and ENERGY STAR appliances. Each of the one-story single-family homes three bedrooms, a two car attached garage, and a screen porch. Three different floor plans were used for the 20 houses ranging in size from 1,962 to 2,593 square feet.

This report provides information and strategies on how to reduce the annual operation cost through load reduction and energy efficiency improvements. It compares a baseline analysis of the design by Wightman & Associates, Inc and the actual utility bill consumption and costs verses an analysis of proposed alterations to the homes suggested by the Sustainable Construction in Indian Country (SCinIC) team.

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Kekyajek Odanek Phase 4: Multi-unit Housing
August 6, 2012
Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Dowagiac, MI


Sketch of Phase 4 of
the Dowgiac Master Plan
Sketch of Phase 4 of the Dowgiac Master Plan

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi in Michigan are currently working on Phase 4 of a community master plan to provide multi-family housing on tribal government land in Pokegnk Edawat Dowagiac. Construction is proposed to begin in the fall of 2012 and will consist of four new multi-family buildings. Each two-story 5,106 ft2 multifamily building will have four individual apartments that comprise of two and three bedroom units. Two of the buildings will be used as a pilot project and will utilize a geothermal system while the other two buildings will utilize gas forced air furnaces.

This report provides information and strategies to reduce the annual operation cost through load reduction and energy efficiency improvements. It compares a baseline analysis of the current design by Nelson Design Group, LLC (NDG) verses an analysis of proposed alterations suggested by the Sustainable Construction in Indian Country (SCinIC) team to the building while maintaining the building footprint.

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Native Village of Kwinhagak Site Visit
July 30-August 10, 2012


Materials spread out for construction of the octagon houses.
Materials spread out for construction of the octagon houses.

For its 2012 building season, the Native Village of Kwinhagak (NVK) is constructing two different energy efficient housing designs, originally developed by the Cold Climate Housing Research Council (CCHRC) and updated by CCHRC as part of the Sustainable Construction in Indian Country (SCinIC) initiative. (See Website update from February 2012.)

They are building two of the Quinhagak prototype houses with an updated foundation design (referred to as the “octagon house,” due to its eight-sided, aerodynamic shape) and also a design that uses an integrated truss system originally developed for a prototype home in Crooked Creek, Alaska (referred to as the “rectangle house”).

As a new octagon house is constructed, the prototype stands in the background.
As a new octagon house is constructed, the prototype stands in the background.

From July 30 to August 10, members of SCinIC joined the NVK work crew in the construction of the two octagon houses. The SCinIC team traveled on-site to provide the work team with construction support on NVK’s new octagon house, as well as repairs to the prototype. The SCinIC team provided some hands-on support, including explaining changes to the foundation system occasioned by intense heaving on the prototype octagon house. This updated foundation uses off-the-shelf components to create a foundation assembly that can be adjusted and re-leveled, should that become necessary due to shifting of the pad. The team also compiled data for use in updating the construction manual.

The octagon house features a roof truss and the rectangle house, an integrated truss. In “whole house” or integrated truss construction, the structure of the walls, floor, and roof are designed as a single component. The trusses were built by different companies in Alaska. Use of a prefabricated truss decreases the amount of wood used and allows for increased recycling; this approach also decreases construction time and generally lowers costs. Two octagon houses have been framed and enclosed. The rectangular house is framed and roofed, but is awaiting the arrival of additional building materials to be fully enclosed.

The work crew fitting siding on the octagon house
The work crew fitting siding on the octagon house

Since NVK is not accessible by road, delivery of construction materials by barge is cumbersome and by plane is expensive. The already short construction season was delayed while NVK awaited delivery of building materials; the roof truss was slightly damaged in transit when it arrived by barge in June.

As winter set in, NVK waited for additional materials to enclose the structures and protect them from storms. The last barge of the season reached Bethel in late October, but could not proceed to NVK, since ice was already making the Kanektok River impassable. A new plan was made to ship the most vital materials by plane.

To further increase their capacity and self-sufficiency, NVK is exploring the feasibility of constructing their own trusses in a former fish processing plant or other protected location. Work crews could build trusses during the slower winter months, thus increasing winter employment opportunities, decreasing shipping costs (and eliminating damage caused by shipping), and ultimately allowing NVK to get a jump on their next building season.

The work crew installing the roof truss
The work crew installing the roof truss
The roof truss on an octagon house.
The roof truss on an octagon house.

The integrated truss includes roof, walls, and floor.
The integrated truss includes roof, walls, and floor.

Akwesasne Housing Authority Site Visit
July 31-August 1, 2012


New Sunrise Acres unit
New Sunrise Acres unit

The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe is located in New York and Canada, along the U.S.-Canadian border, on the St. Lawrence River. As the location might lead you to believe, this community is located in a cold climate. Over the course of a year, the nearest weather station, about 13 miles away, recorded 6,588 heating degree days and 574 cooling degree days.1 Degree days give an indication of how long and intense the heating and cooling seasons are. These are used to help track how electricity and gas usage correspond to seasonal weather changes.

In the summer of 2011, the St Regis Mohawk’s Akwesasne Housing Authority (AHA) completed construction on a cutting edge housing development for seniors. The development features 20 residential units. These are single-story 2-bedroom apartments in 4-unit multifamily buildings. The development also includes a training center. The buildings were built with insulated concrete form (ICF) walls and heated/cooled with a geothermal system. Other energy efficient technologies and strategies include: metal roofs, blown in cellulose insulation (6 in over fiberglass batts), insulated slab foundations, low-e windows, solar tube system domestic hot water, ENERGY STAR rated appliances, and CFL lighting. The development also contains six photovoltaic arrays (each array produces 5.04 kilowatts) to decrease electricity costs. The development was funded with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act funds.

PV array
PV array

AHA began to collect utility data to compare with utility costs of its older elderly multifamily units and, thus, determining the most cost effective retrofits. AHA reached out to the Sustainable Construction in Indian Country (SCinIC) initiative for assistance in modeling this data comparison and recommending energy cost reduction measures (ECRMs).

SCinIC team visited AHA July 31-August 1. There team members toured the new units and the training facility, visited the largest hydropower project in the United States (a joint project with Canada), and collected some additional data.

The comparison multifamily units were built in 1998. They are 2-bedroom, similar in size to the new units, and are in 4-unit single story buildings. The comparison units are a typical wood frame construction with siding over Tyvek house wrap over OSB sheathing. The roofs are asphalt shingle with R-38 insulation above the ceiling. The slab foundations are insulated and windows are double pane glass in vinyl frames. The units are kerosene oil heated and cooled with individual window units; buildings include electric water heaters. Units did not yet have ENERGY STAR rated appliances but did have some CFLS.

According to the SCinIC’s energy analysis, in one year each of the older buildings units spent $8,176 in heating and electricity costs, while the new buildings each spent $4,110. This is a 58 percent decrease. Part of the decrease is from lower meter costs and lower rate cost. Watch for a report to be issued shortly which will include cost-effective energy cost reduction measures that AHA can use to lower the utility costs of its older units, building on the success of the new units.

 
 Solar domestic hot water on Sunrise Acres unit roof.
Solar domestic hot water on Sunrise Acres unit roof.
An older Sunrise Acres unit.
An older Sunrise Acres unit.
 

http://www.akwehsg.org/

http://www.srmt-nsn.gov/

Navajo Housing Authority
August 2012


Residents participating in master planning charrettes.
Residents participating in master planning charrettes.

Located in Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico, the Navajo Nation is the largest tribe in the United States with 27,000 square miles of land. The Navajo Housing Authority (NHA) administers more than 8,000 housing units. But the tribe needs more than 34,000 units according to a recent housing self assessment.  

To help meet that need, NHA has a full upcoming year. NHA has asked Sustainable Construction in Indian Country (SCinIC) to provide technical assistance to assist NHA and its contractors as they implement three projects: construction of 1,200 housing units, master planning in each of its five districts, and development of a sustainable communities design standard.

NHA is already moving toward more sustainable housing designs. They are increasing use of Navajo FlexCrete, a solid fiber reinforced aerated fly-ash concrete material produced by the Navajo Nation by a subsidiary of the Navajo Housing Authority. FlexCrete decreases heating and cooling loads, reduces air leakage, and is fire and termite resistant. SCinIC provided energy modeling of proposed units and offered recommendations for potential energy efficiency improvements to current and future housing plans including reorientation for passive/solar, adding insulation in the roof and to the slab, and changing unit heat systems.

Currently residents can pay more than $3,000 in utility fees in units heated with propane. To cut heating costs in half, SCinIC recommends switching to a ductless mini-split heat pump. Lacking experience in this technology, NHA construction staff is hesitant to implement it on a big scale. (Also, this technology is not feasible in all locations due to periodic power outages.) NHA is considering conducting a pilot program to evaluate cost savings and ease of maintenance.

NHA has contracted with Swaback Partners to conduct a master planning project. SCinIC participated in several charrettes hosted by Swaback in July, which helped residents begin the process of identifying available land and considering how housing development fits into community development. The individual chapters will eventually develop or update their chapter master plans. In addition to providing NHA with input during the master planning project, SCinIC plans to build on the master planning effort to develop a local design review guidelines and process that will help NHA evaluate and offer recommendations on the chapter plans and housing to be developed for these.

The SCinIC team has already demonstrated two tools that can help NHA select housing designs that fit its desire to increase sustainability. SCinIC presentations include energy modeling and digital 3D modeling. These common tools help communities analyze and improve proposed housing developments by providing data on the best payback and utility savings.

SCinIC will also work with NHA in developing a new Sustainable Communities Design Standard. One of the advantages to developing a local standard is the ability to shape that standard to fit with the local economy, region, and the challenges of that community. For example, many sustainable standards require that materials be procured from less than 500 miles. This is not always possible for remote rural communities. NHA will be able to develop a standard that encourages sustainable and energy saving housing within the context of the community.

All of these projects are supporting NHA in its aim to consider housing decisions within a sustainable framework that actively integrates economic and community development and reflects the voices of community members.

SCinIC was invited to present their findings and initial recommendations to the full staff and board of the Navajo Housing Authority at their 50th anniversary celebration and annual retreat in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the end of August.

Additional potential web links: http://www.hooghan.org/

Some housing on the Navajo reservation is scattered site, and remote from infrastructure.
Some housing on the Navajo reservation is scattered site, and remote from infrastructure.

These houses are typical clustered housing development on the Navajo Nation.
 

Incorporating Sustainable Land and Water Strategies Into a Master Plan
October 12, 2012



The largest community of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians is in Dowagiac, Michigan. The name “Dowagiac” comes from the Potawatomi description for a “place to hunt, fish, and forage.” Care and restoration of earth and water are at the center of the Band’s master plan.

The Pokégnek Bodéwadmik Master Plan blends deeply rooted cultural beliefs with state-of-the-art best management practices (BMPs) to achieve high-performance infrastructure. (The term “BMP” refers to environmental management strategies that prevent or reduce stormwater pollution.) The infrastructure includes stormwater management and water conservation, roadway and walking-path surfaces, and landscaping. An important aspect of the tribe’s water management strategy includes careful placement of housing units on the site.

 


 

To learn more, click here to view the full report.

 

Pawnee Housing Authority Site Visit
August 1, 2012


A worker filling an ICF wall with concrete.
A worker filling an ICF wall with concrete.

The Pawnee Nation is located in Oklahoma, approximately an hour outside Tulsa. Oklahoma is known for its tornado activity. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Oklahoma averages 55 tornados a year. Housing that provides occupants with protection against severe weather is an important consideration.

The Housing Authority of the Pawnee Tribe (HAPT) is developing plans for four units of housing for elders—either two duplexes or a quadplex. Since the housing authority had not recently built any units, they requested assistance from the Sustainable Construction in Indian Country (SCinIC) initiative to explore options for resilient and energy-efficient materials, as well as other recommendations.

A SCinIC team met with members of the board of commissioners, the executive director, and housing authority staff on May 4th to discuss sustainability and safety issues for the new construction project, and to visit the site.

Image of a birds-eye view of the lot from Google Earth.
The lot fronts Hawthorne Street and has two mature pecan trees towards the south side. An alley borders the south side. The picture above is a birds-eye view of the lot from Google Earth.

They discussed materials and strategies, including advanced framing techniques (AFT), structural insulated panels (SIPS), and insulating concrete forms (ICFs) for the envelope of the building. AFTs and SIPs offer increased efficiency over standard framing techniques. However, using either of these, or standard frame construction, would require inclusion of a “safe room” where residents could take shelter in the event of a tornado or other severe weather. This would increase the cost of construction and could pose design integration challenges.

ICFs provide the increased energy efficiency that senior citizens on fixed incomes need to help keep their utility costs in check. ICFs would also harden the entire structure, so that a safe room would not be needed. The SCinIC team began looking into local sources for ICFs while HAPT gathered additional information.

The SCinIC discussion inspired the housing authority and commissioners. They requested that SCinIC provide them with the names of some local developers that use ICFs. They recently completed a trip to Oklahoma City to tour some ICF-built houses. On the day of the visit the temperature outdoors was 96° F; inside the house, the temperature was 79° F--with no air conditioning! The Pawnee Housing Authority has another trip planned to Tulsa to view units and talk with local developers, but are impressed with what they have seen thus far.

Image of workers constructing the reinforced ICF walls.
Workers constructing the reinforced ICF walls.
Image of Tushka, Okla., April 26, 2011 -- A tornado hit the town of Tushka on April 14, destroying homes. Jeannie Warner/FEMA.
Tushka, Okla., April 26, 2011 -- A tornado hit the town of Tushka on April 14, destroying homes. Jeannie Warner/FEMA.
 

Nez Perce Housing Authority Site Visit and Design Workshop
June 13, 2012


Image of an aerial view of the proposed design of NPHA's new construction project of nine duplexes in Lapwai, Idaho.
An aerial view of the proposed design of NPHA's new construction project of nine duplexes in Lapwai, Idaho.

Located in north central Idaho, the Nez Perce reservation spans five counties. The city of Lapwai in Nez Perce County is home to the largest number of Nez Perce tribal members. The Nez Perce Housing Authority (NPHA) has built Energy Star®-certified housing units in past construction projects, but NPHA officials are looking for additional ways to lower utility costs and improve resident comfort in future construction projects. This summer, NPHA will begin construction on nine duplexes (18 two-bedroom units) to house low-income families in Lapwai. NPHA’s Executive Director Laurie Ann Smith requested that the Sustainable Construction in Indian Country (SCinIC) team review the project’s original duplex design and make recommendations that would improve energy efficiency for the project. In April, the SCinIC team visited the Nez Perce Reservation to present findings from the design review process and to conduct a design workshop with NPHA staff and residents.

Image of the east-facing entry vestibules and porches that will improve thermal comfort and align with the Nez Perce tradition.
The east-facing entry vestibules and porches will improve thermal comfort and align with the Nez Perce tradition.

In preparation for the SCinIC visit with NPHA staff and residents, an energy modeling study was conducted to compare energy use projections of the duplexes original design to one that uses a package of alternative sustainable construction measures. The study found that by using alternative sustainable construction measures (including the use of straw bales to improve wall insulation, floor and roof insulation improvements, ductless heat pumps, a heat pump water heater) the project could achieve an energy savings of as much as 60 percent. In the study’s model, various sustainable construction materials were tested, including structural insulated panels, insulating concrete forms, phase change material, and straw bales. The report also proposed a series of five packages of energy efficiency design options to consider for the project’s construction.

Image of the insulated concrete forms which maintain structural integrity and provide energy efficiency.
Insulated concrete forms maintain structural integrity and provide energy efficiency.

During the April visit, the SCinIC team presented findings from the energy modeling study, and discussed the results with NPHA staff and residents at a design workshop. NPHA staff and residents were shown proposed design improvements, which included architectural and site planning alterations to improve the social and cultural aspects of the project. The SCinIC presentation included three-dimensional computer renderings of the proposed housing division. Participants voiced strong support for, and interest in, many of the proposed design improvements. The SCinIC team also proposed a plan to increase the amount of community space in the project by changing the parking layouts and adding carports. The revised design plans also added east-facing entry vestibules and porches that will improve thermal comfort and align with the Nez Perce tradition.

Image of the energy modeling study which proposed five packages of energy-efficiency design options for the NPHA project.
An energy modeling study proposed five packages of energy-efficiency design options for the NPHA project.

Cocopah Indian Housing and Development Site Visit
April 23, 2012


Image of CIHAD staff members meeting with the SCinIC technical team. CIHAD staff members. meet with the SCinIC technical team.
Image of CIHAD multifamily building scheduled for renovation. CIHAD multifamily building scheduled for renovation.

The sun, heat, and wind in the desert climate of southern Arizona are hard on housing. The Cocopah Indian Tribe Reservation south of Yuma, near the border with Mexico, seeks to stabilize and to strengthen its community by ensuring that its housing is safe and in good condition. Stable, decent housing will allow all tribal members who wish to live on the reservation to find suitable housing and to become homeowners, if they choose. Consequently, the Tribe has created the Cocopah Indian Housing and Development (CIHAD) to upgrade and construct the necessary infrastructure, rehabilitate existing units, and expand the supply of affordable housing units for sale or lease to tribal members.

Image of Site plan of CIHAD multifamily housing buildings and community center scheduled for renovation. Site plan of CIHAD multifamily housing buildings and community center scheduled for renovation.

By lowering utility costs and increasing durability of the housing, CIHAD can increase the sustainability of its housing stock and help its tenants save on expensive air conditioning bills. Sustainable Construction in Indian Country (SCinIC) team members visited the Cocopah Indian Tribe on April 1–3 to discuss strategies for helping CIHAD to rehabilitate existing all-electric multifamily housing units and a community center to become net-zero energy buildings. A net-zero building uses a renewable energy source to generate as much energy as it consumes. Most net-zero energy buildings are grid-connected and net-metered.

CIHAD’s initial plans call for immediately reducing the energy load. This may be accomplished by replacing lighting fixtures and lighting, adding occupancy sensors, upgrading to Energy Star appliances, shutting off appliances when not in use, improving insulation, and installing energy efficient windows. The incentives available through the local utility, APS (Arizona Power Service), for multifamily housing may help cut costs for making some of these changes. The SCinIC team will provide building modeling to help CIHAD make choices about installing efficient heating systems and explore the feasibility of solar as a renewable energy source.

The team also met in Phoenix on April 4 with the HUD Southwest Office of Native American Programs, the Phoenix Field Office, and the Arizona Governor’s Office of Energy Policy to discuss the CIHAD project and learn more about incentives available to Arizona utility users for making their homes more energy efficient.

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Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Design Charrette
February 24, 2012



Image of Pokagon Band elders participate in housing design charrette.
Pokagon Band elders participate in housing design charrette.

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians has been moving toward a sustainable housing and community model since 2002. They began their culture-based development in Dowagiac, MI, at Edawat with an integrated cluster design. This design encompassed streets, sidewalks, storm water management, landscape elements, and the placement of 34 houses to retain topography and existing vegetation. In 2010, the Pokagon Band built a community center meeting LEED Gold standards. They are continuing the planning at the Edawat site in Dowagiac, as well as, beginning the process of visioning for development at two other sites in Hartford, MI, and South Bend, IN.

The Conservation Design Forum (CDF) invited Sustainable Construction in Indian Country (SCinIC) team members to attend a design charrette held at the Pokagon Band community center on February 11. CDF is the landscape architecture firm focused on sustainable design that developed the masterplan for the Pokagon Band’s first phase of development, Edawat. Community members attended this charrette to discuss their needs and wants for the next phase of development. Ideas for much needed new homes, a community garden, and renewable energy sources for the community were a few of the items mentioned during the charrette.

The SCinIC team plans to provide technical assistance to the Pokagon Band by working closely with CDF to recommend ideas for housing design that will provide the same high level of performance and sustainability that the existing infrastructure currently possesses.

Native Village of Kwinhagak Site Visit
February 10, 2012


Sustainable Construction in Indian Country (SCinIC ) team members visited the Native Village of Kwinhagak (NVK) in January 10-12, 2012. NVK is a Yup’k Eskimo community, less than a mile from the Bering Sea coast in Alaska. The community needs to replace nearly one third of its housing stock, and also has overcrowding problems and high energy expenses. NVK is working to adapt existing housing designs to maximize 1) affordability, 2) energy efficiency, and 3) ability to be built, in part, by prospective homeowners with an experienced supervisor as part of a self-help homeownership program.

Team members participated in two meetings with members of the NVK Council, NVK Corporation, and the Quinhagak city mayor. They discussed the merits of two housing designs, the experience of the community learning to build an energy efficient prototype, and the need to build with respect for the local climate and soil structure. The group decided for its 2012 building season to develop three of the Quinhagak prototype and one of the more traditional looking Crooked Creek prototype. These prototypes were developed by the Cold Climate Housing Research Center.

SCinIC team members are currently modifying the two designs to reflect changes discussed at the meeting. They will also update the materials lists to align with the new designs.

Impediments to Sustainable Construction in Indian Country
January 27, 2012


As one of its first steps, the Sustainable Construction in Indian Country initiative was charged with exploring impediments to sustainable construction practices in Native communities and to suggest solutions to these impediments. A meeting was held in conjunction with 2011 HUD Greener Homes Summit Governmental, nongovernmental, and tribal focus group participants offered observations regarding impediments to sustainable construction in Native communities. In a follow-up meeting attendees ranked, by order of importance, the impediments and brainstormed about potential solutions. Four impediments were identified. These are:

  • Building codes
  • Costs/funding
  • Capacity building
  • Planning

To learn more and read suggestions for solutions, click here to view the draft report.

Do you have experience or viewpoints on these subjects? Please feel free to offer your own comments here.

Assistant Secretary Bostic sends letters to Tribes seeking participants
November 10, 2011


Dr. Raphael Bostic, Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research, is sending letters to tribes and tribally designated housing entities (TDHEs) introducing the Sustainable Construction in Indian Country (SCinIC) initiative and seeking demonstration projects. Watch for yours! To provide additional information about the initiative, we’ve updated the SCinIC web page with a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and a list of selection considerations. A sample letter is also given.

The selection considerations include a broad list of areas that HUD will review as it selects the demonstration projects to participate as best practice case studies and/or recipients of technical assistance. Demonstration projects will represent different types of projects at different stages of development from each of the six Office of Native American Program (ONAP) regions. Click here to read the selection considerations.

The FAQs include additional information about the initiative. If you’d like to know some benefits of sustainable construction practices, types of sustainable construction practices, how demonstration projects are selected, and who is eligible to apply, and more, click here to read the FAQs. These FAQs will be updated as needed.

Stay tuned for additional updates.

Click here to contact us with your questions or comments.

 

HUD initiates new project aimed at increasing sustainable construction in native lands
September 22, 2011


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R), in partnership with the Office of Native American Programs (ONAP), has just launched a new effort to support and increase sustainable construction in Native communities. By building sustainable housing, tribes can provide their members with healthier, more comfortable, and more resource-efficient homes.

This initiative includes several activities. HUD is working with other Federal Agencies and key stakeholders to identify and overcome barriers to the adoption of sustainable construction practices in Indian Country. HUD will be issuing a call seeking tribes interested in this effort. Participating tribes will receive technical assistance to support their adoption of sustainable construction practices in residential construction or rehabilitation projects. HUD will be providing training on sustainable construction practices.

Check back at this site for more information about technical assistance opportunities, project updates, reports, and best practice case studies. Click here to contact us with your questions or comments. Join us in this exciting initiative to support sustainable construction in Native communities.

 
 
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