Affordable Green Housing Report

This 40 page report models five different 'energy portraits' of the same basic house, to examine the effects of 'green design' features on affordability. The model house is a 1,400 square foot bungalow style 3-bedroom single family home with a raised insulated basement for future build-out.

The five house versions are modeled:

  • 'CodeMinimum' -- with no features beyond basic Code requirements
  • 'LowMarket' -- slightly above minimum Wisconsin dwelling code standards
  • 'GoodPractice' -- the eventual winner in the 'green' value-for-dollar comparison
  • 'PassiveSolar' -- including various other upgrades
  • ActiveSolar and Hydronic -- with the highest energy-efficiency score.

A chart summarizes the various design features of each version, as well as it's HERS (Home Energy Rating System) score. Although the costs reflect the date of the report (1997), the design choices and how they affect overall performenace and operating cost are compelling and still very relevant.

We used the REM/Design computer software to model the energy use and operating costs assuming a Madison, Wisconsin location. A local builder estimated the construction costs based on outline specifications and schematic drawings. In addition to presenting the findings, the report also comments on some of the limitations of the energy modeling software.


Download "Renewable Energy for a Madison Area Community Development Project" (PDF=1.4 megs)