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Building Innovation for Homeownership
Award Winners: New York

PROJECT: West-of-Pennsylvania, Brooklyn, New York

SUBMITTER: Ken Thorburne, East Brooklyn Congregations, Brooklyn, New York

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: This 700-unit development is scattered on a variety of sites in the East New York section of Brooklyn, New York. It is the first phase of a larger development that eventually will total 1,200 houses. Modular units, built by Capsys and assembled on site by Monadnock Construction, will be used throughout the development. The modules are steel-framed, with insulation placed between the frame and the exterior cladding to give these buildings better thermal performance. At 18 feet, these modules are wider than the standard 14-foot-wide unit, which means that fewer units are used to make a single house, and result in more spacious interiors. These units are also completely finished in the factory, cutting work to a minimum of 10 to 20 percent of that usually conducted on site for modular construction. The 1,338-square foot houses, with nearly 700 square feet of unfinished basements, will sell for $71,000, well below the median for this area of New York. Costs have been held down by the modular construction and by the innovative financing of East Brooklyn Congregations, a consortium of church groups that pool resources and raise subsidy for housing developments. EBC has set up a $5 million trust to be used for revolving no-interest construction loans. Over the past 14 years EBC has built 2,300 units through its Nehemiah Homes program. For this project, the city provided land and $20,000 of subsidy for each house.

PROJECT PARTICIPANTS: Ken Thorburne, East Brooklyn Congregations, Brooklyn, New York (developer); Nicholas Lembo, Monadnock Construction, Brooklyn, New York (builder); Capsys, Brooklyn, New York (modular manufacturer); Bishop Thomas V. Daily, Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens; Mission Synod Lutheran Church, Atlantic District, David Benke, President; St. Paul Community Baptist Church, Rev. Johnny Ray Youngblood, Pastor; Community Preservation Corporation, Michael Lappin, President; City of New York, Hon. Rudolph Guliani, Mayor; Liliam Barrios-Paoli, New York Commissioner of Housing.


PROJECT: Copiague, Long Island, New York

SUBMITTER: William B. Siegel, President, New Age Builders, Hampton Bays, New York

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Copiague is a small development of entry-level, below median- price homes on Long Island within a one-hour commute to Manhattan. Built with an emphasis on energy-efficiency, the Copiague homes typically receive energy bills one-half those of similar homes in the area. Walls are designed with 2 x 6-inch studs placed 24- inches on-center, the optimal value engineering (OVE) framing method that both saves lumber and leaves maximum space for insulation. The addition of rigid insulation board provides an R-25 wall and reduced sidewall sheathing costs. Extra attic insulation yields an R-38 roof. A gas boiler controlled by a set-back thermostat supplies air heating at over 87 percent efficiency (AFUE) and domestic hot water at 84 percent minimum efficiency. The single mechanical exhaust system operates at variable speeds to continuously control humidity and air quality. Homes are sited to maximize southern exposure.

Copiague homes are certified NY Star Homes, exceeding the state's energy conservation standards by at least 25%. They qualify for energy-efficient mortgages recognized by FNMA and FHA with as little as 2 percent downpayment. Average cost of the 1204 square foot homes is $125,800.

PROJECT PARTICIPANTS: William B. Siegel, President, New Age Builders, Hampton Bays, NY (builder/developer); Long Island Lighting Company (rebate for energy efficiency), and the Town of Babylon, NY.


PROJECT: EcoVillage CoHousing Cooperative

SUBMITTER: Liz Walker, Co-Director, EcoVillage at Ithaca, New York

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: EcoVillage CoHousing Cooperative is based on a Scandinavian housing model that combines the autonomy of private homes with the advantages of community. The development, located on 176 acres two miles from downtown Ithaca, NY, home of Cornell University, includes five neighborhoods, each with a common house and 25-30 homes. Homes are sited in an area of poor and rocky soil leaving prime soil for agriculture. The first neighborhood, scheduled for completion in January 1997, has a common house and 15 clustered duplexes (30 units). Homes range from a 1 bedroom, 900 sf unit for $90,000 to a 4 bedroom, 1600 sf for $145,000. Prices include a share of the common house which provides for cooperative laundry facilities, shared meals, child care/elder care, and space for workshops, home offices, and relaxing. Three homes have a fully accessible first floor.

EcoVillage is designed to foster environmental conservation as well as community. Energy conservation techniques include such as design and placement of homes to maximize solar gain, common energy systems for water and space heating, air tight construction, super- insulation, and placement of ducts in conditioned space. South-facing roofs allow for the eventual addition of photovoltaic panels. Annual space heating costs using natural gas were projected at $100-$150, unusually low for Ithaca winters. Low-flow showers and faucets conserve water. Compact and indirect fluorescent fixtures and day-lighting use reduced energy.

PROJECT PARTICIPANTS: EcoVillage at Ithaca, Inc., a 501(c)3 not for profit organization (founder, organizer, land title holder) ; EcoVillage CoHousing Cooperative (developer); and, HouseCraft Builders, Inc., Jerold and Claudia Weisburd (design/build team).


PROJECT NAME: Head Start Housing, Buffalo, New York

SUBMITTER: Stievater + Associates: Architects, Buffalo, New York

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The Head Start Housing project is a union between an architect with a successful "infill" housing design, a supplier of quality modular building products, and a Buffalo minority contractor with a plan to create jobs for the community's unemployed while producing homes. The Head Start House is a variation on an original compact "infill house" designed to fit Buffalo's narrow vacant lots. The three-bedroom, 1,220 square foot homes will sell for an average of $75,000. Construction of two model homes will begin in the Fall 1996. The total fourteen home development is scheduled for construction in late Spring 1997.

Walls of these homes will be constructed of Sparlock, a concrete block, interlocking, mortarless, modular product that is easily installed by unskilled labor. The greater fire resistance of the masonry material compared to typical wood frame materials allows placement of homes on the lot-line, leaving space for a private driveway not often feasible on inner city properties. Exterior walls are built of Thermo Briques, insulated interlocking panels consisting of brick veneer, an integral mortar joint, rigid polyurethane insulation, and exterior grade plywood. The panels are reported to provide almost 11 times the energy efficiency of brick in just over half the thickness. Thermo Briques are a series of interlocking panels that can be installed without extensive training. Plans are to manufacture both Sparlock and Thermo Briques in factories in one of Buffalo's Urban Revitalization Zones.

PROJECT PARTICIPANTS: George Nicholas and Victor Libertore, Nicholas Enterprises/ Libertore Enterprises, Buffalo, New York (building contractors); Stievater + Associates: Architects, Buffalo, NY (architects); Paul Riefler Inc., Buffalo, New York (modular building products supplier)


Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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