When we talk about sustainability, we refer to sustaining communities and sustaining the environment; ACTION-Housing does both. We have always sought to sustain communities through the preservation of affordable housing and revitalization associated with redevelopment. We develop homes and multifamily buildings that are affordable, safe, accessible to public transportation, healthy, and energy efficient. This benefits homeowners as well as communities seeking to attract new residents and re-use existing buildings or empty lots to enhance the vibrancy of their neighborhoods.
More recently, environmental sustainability and green building design have become a core component in our approach to real estate development. Below is an overview of our recent projects’ green building credentials.
Heidelberg Passive House
In the Pittsburgh Suburb of Heidelberg, ACTION-Housing built the first ever home in Western Pennsylvania to achieve passive house certification. The Passive House system uses "passive" heating and cooling mechanisms, as well as super-insulation and other energy saving measures to reduce energy consumption by 80-90 percent. When it was certified as meeting passive house standards in May of 2013, the single family home was only the 45th certified passive house in the country.
McKeesport Downtown Housing:
When the McKeesport YMCA closed, and decided to end its single room occupancy homeless facility, the Pittsburgh region was in danger of loosing one of its last lines of defense against homelessness. But ACTION-Housing was able to acquire the property and begin rehabilitating the property. Right on the heels of finishing the Heidelberg Passive House, ACTION-Housing aimed to achieve passive house standard again, this time on a historic rehabilitation of a multifamily home, rather than on a single family new construction home. But if McKeesport Downtown Housing meets passive house standards, it will be the first multifamily home in the United States to achieve passive house certification from the Passive House Institute, US.
The Mackey Lofts:
In Uptown, The Mackey Lofts are creating 43 new units of housing in place of an old warehouse. Some of its features include:
- Geothermal heating and cooling
- Improved envelope performance
- Highly energy efficient HVAC systems
- Water-efficient plumbing fixtures
- Energy efficient appliances and lighting
- Enhanced indoor air quality through outdoor air ventilation and non-toxic building products
- Bicycle parking
The Uptown Lofts:
Working again in Uptown, ACTION-Housing will begin construction on two new apartment buildings on two vacant lots on either side of the 2000 Fifth Avenue. One building will attempt to achieve Passive House Certification, while the other will be built to standard energy efficiency criteria. The results will allow us to test the viability of the passive house standard against a very similar building right across the street. The Uptown Lofts were so ground breaking, that the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency awarded ACTION-Housing its first ever Innovation in Design Award.