Three+1 Project honored by Build San Antonio Green
(November 20, 2012) -- On November 2, Build San Antonio Green honored the Three+1 Project for Innovation in Affordable Green Building at the Green Gala, their annual honors ceremony held atop the Tower of the Americas this year. A community-service endeavor that erected four experimental rental houses on San Antonio’s west side, the Three+1 Project has been a collaborative effort between the College of Architecture (CoA), the San Antonio Alternative Housing Corporation (SAAHC), and the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA). CoA Associate Dean Taeg Nishimoto, SAAHC Project Manager Greg Cooper, CoA graduate student Clare Cloudt, and CoA alumni Schuyler Costello and Daniel Cancilla represented the Three+1 Project at the event.
The Green Gala is an opportunity for Build San Antonio Green, San Antonio’s award-winning residential green building program, to honor builders, developers, organizations, and sustainability advocates who have made a significant local impact in residential green building over the past year. All honorees were selected in-house by Build San Antonio Green. Now in its third year, the Green Gala is attended by the “who’s who” of green building in San Antonio — many political and business leaders, construction community members, and other key decision makers were in attendance.
“We are proud to honor The Three+1 Project and team members,” said Anita Devora, Executive Director of Build San Antonio Green. “This project was an ambitious experiment, demonstrating affordable green building with the use of “alternative” building materials in addition to an extraordinary amount of teamwork amongst students from UTSA’s College of Architecture and the San Antonio Alternative Housing Corporation.”
The Three+1 Project was conceived three years ago when Nishimoto met Rod Radle, then executive director of SAAHC. Under Nishimoto’s direction, a dozen graduate students from the CoA spent the past two years working with SAAHC to research and design three separate homes, each built from different construction materials so their energy efficiency could be monitored and evaluated under real living conditions after completion. A fourth unit — the control home — was built in SAAHC’s conventional way, with traditional wood framing. The remaining three “alternative” homes were built with Structural Insulated Panels (SIP), autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) blocks, and shipping containers, respectively. The CoA students designed these three homes with an emphasis on energy efficiency in an attempt to demonstrate viable alternatives to conventional low-income housing. All four homes meet Level 1 criteria for the Build San Antonio Green program, and the recycled shipping container house was the first-ever to receive a residential building permit in San Antonio.
In addition to energy-monitoring sensors, each home utilizes energy-conserving interior features such as sprayed foam insulation, attic fans, and solar water heaters. The units, which have similar footprints and square footages, have since been rented to families of similar size to ensure accurate energy-use comparisons, marking the beginning of the second phase of the project. The sensors will collect data on the renters’ use of energy and, over the next few years, UTSA architecture students will study which of the construction types is most energy-efficient.