State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Land Trust's GreenBuild Project Wins Statewide Award

by on November 26, 2019 4:30 AM

State College Community Land Trust's GreenBuild duplex was recently named a a project winner of smart-growth advocacy organization 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Awards.

GreenBuild — two energy-efficient homes for middle-income individuals and families — was among 15 projects honored with the award, which recognizes "community leadership and catalytic development projects and initiatives that find new uses for vacant and underutilized land, increase opportunities for communities on the rise, and breathe new life into old neighborhoods."

Created in collaboration with Penn State's Hamer Center for Community Design and its Energy Efficient Housing Research Group, the two 1,400-square-foot homes on University Drive were completed in the spring of 2018.

"When we started the project, some people questioned whether building one duplex would make a significant contribution to the affordable housing market,” project chair Peg Hambrick said in a news release. “Now that the homes have been occupied, and we have been collecting energy use data for over a year, we know that GreenBuild has delivered on its mission to be affordable to purchase and to own, and are looking forward to applying the lessons of GreenBuild to future projects"

Also partnering on the GreenBuild project were West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund, State College Borough, Centre County Government, S&T Bank and many donors. Henry Architecture and Design and Weber Murphy Fox, Inc. provided architecture and administrative services. Envinity, which specializes in building for energy efficiency, constructed the homes.

The Commonwealth Awards bring together leading professionals in real estate development, architecture, engineering, transportation, planning, education, healthcare, municipal government and community development to recognize people, projects and initiatives within the past three years that have made outstanding contributions to their communities. 

Since the duplex was completed in 2018, SCCLT has continued GreenBuild partnerships through the Energy+ program, which designs and implements energy efficiency-focused capital improvements for affordable housing in the State College area. Energy+ received Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency funding in July for physical upgrades to existing housing units, and was recently awarded additional funding from the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund to continue its work.

In the last 20 years, SCCLT has helped more nearly individuals and families become homeowners in the borough. Applicants to buy houses through the land trust are provided education on budgeting and applying for mortgages and houses are only sold to applicants who meet federal income guidelines. The land is leased to the homeowner, reducing the ownership cost, and the house can in the future be sold to another qualifying buyer or back to SCCLT.

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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