Granite City Housing Net Zero Energy, PHIUS+ Certified Affordable Housing Residences
Granite City, IL 62040
The Granite City Housing Authority was founded in 1939 in cooperation with the United States Housing Act. With the subsidies provided by the United States government, the Granite City Housing Authority is able to provide affordable housing to those in need. Today, they manage 353 affordable housing units, all of which are occupied. Their aim is to incorporate green infrastructure into the affordable housing market. Thus far, they have undertaken the construction of 43 “green” units. These efforts support the Granite City Housing Authority’s Five-Year Plan, made up of six goals: increase the availability of decent, safe, and affordable housing by replacing obsolete or unmarketable housing units with new energy efficient units designed for low maintenance; improve the overall quality of operations; provide an improved living environment; promote self-sufficiency and asset development of assisted households; ensure equal opportunity and affirmatively further fair housing, and finally, improve community quality of life and economic vitality. Adding the incorporation of green infrastructure to their goals, the Granite City Housing Authority has made it so security and sustainability are not merely reserved for the wealthy.
In its development, the Granite City Housing Authority has received two grants from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation (ICECF). In 2014, they received a $97,908 dollar grant to install 52.25 kW of solar photovoltaics (PV). The solar panels are located on six buildings containing a total of 20 housing units. Each building’s roof contains a mounted array and each unit is powered in part by the energy generated. This renewable energy generation, in combination with efficient lighting, controlled daylighting, sustainable design, and storm- and wastewater management, has made these units “green” housing for several years. This project showcases renewable energy technology to a community that is often left out of such efforts. The project is planned to be publicized through the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials as a new standard to reach in public housing development.
The success of the PV project listed above influenced the Granite City Housing Authority to return in 2016 for another grant. This grant was $261,480 dollars for the construction of a net zero affordable housing development. The grant covers 60% of the total project cost. The final development consists of 2 units with 1248 sq. ft. of conditioned space. It is located just north of the Granite City Housing Authority buildings containing PV arrays installed in 2014. This project is still underway but will likely be the first net zero energy public housing building in the country. The building will achieve PHIUS+ certification and will include a 2.5 kW supplemental roof-mounted PV system. This offset of energy usage in conjunction with sustainable design will maintain the building’s net zero energy status. The building is projected to consume 8,800 kWhs annually but is projected to generate 10,863 kWhs annually. This would not only make the building net zero but would also have sustainably generated energy flowing back into the grid. A total of 2,063 kWhs will be provided to the grid annually.