Unique duplex retrofit in State College promotes sustainability and affordability
Centre County officials are celebrating a newly renovated passive house in State College that promotes sustainability, energy efficiency and affordability. Local, county and state officials gathered Friday to cut the ribbon of the newly renovated 1970’s duplex at 1505-07 University Drive.
After the ribbon cutting, community members got to take a tour.
The duplex renovation is a project by the State College Community Land Trust. The Trust said it’s only the second multifamily Passive House-certified renovation in the country and the first in Pennsylvania.
Passive houses are energy efficient, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly. That’s according to Barb Roebuck with West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund, which was a partner on the project. She said one of the requirements for passive house certification is removing all “thermal bridges.” This is how she describes those:
“On a really frigid cold winter morning, have you ever touched your doorknob and it's cold? Sometimes it's frosty? That's thermal bridging. The cold builds a bridge from the outside through the door onto your doorknob. Well, guess what? This kind of construction breaks every thermal bridge in this house," Roebuck said.
Air sealing, insulation, mechanical ventilation, and Passive House-certified windows mean there are no drafts, and homeowners save on energy costs.
State College mayor Ezra Nanes said this house makes the community financially accessible to more people.
“And that's really important for the life of our community. Sustainability, energy efficiency, and, of course, affordable housing. These are the things that we talk about and strive to achieve all the time," Nanes said.
The average home value in State College is about $380,000, according to Zillow. This renovated passive house is on sale through the land trust for only $105,000.
Centre County Commissioner Amber Concepcion also spoke at the event, saying: “Affordability and sustainability don't have to be competing goals. These are goals that we can reach together.”
The home is for sale to income-qualified households. There will be an open house on Sunday, Nov. 5 from noon-3 p.m.