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Cityscape: Volume 16 Number 2 | Article 14


Form Follows Families: Evolution of U.S. Affordable Housing Design and Construction

Volume 16, Number 2

Mark D. Shroder
Michelle P. Matuga

Key Behaviors of Residents Who Need Energy Education

Isabelina Nahmens
Alireza Joukar
Louisiana State University

Industrial Revolution
Every home makes compromises among different and often competing goals: comfort, convenience, durability, energy consumption, maintenance, construction costs, appearance, strength, community acceptance, and resale value. Often consumers and developers making the tradeoffs among these goals do so with incomplete information, increasing the risks and slowing the adoption of innovative products and processes. This slow diffusion negatively affects productivity, quality, performance, and value. This department of
Cityscape presents, in graphic form, a few promising technological improvements to the U.S. housing stock. If you have an idea for a future department feature, please send your diagram or photograph, along with a few well-chosen words, to

In the past decade, U.S. initiatives to promote sustainability in homebuilding have resulted in myriad choices of high-performance construction products and innovative technologies for contractors and homeowners. The Louisiana State University Agricultural Center has built a showcase home known as the LaHouse Resource Center (hereafter LaHouse), which serves as a permanent, evolving display of sustainable building ideas. Although educational displays like those at LaHouse have resulted in contractors and homeowners becoming more aware of the available technology options, the challenge remains in that residents’ behaviors drive energy consumption and, therefore, changing their behavior would have the greatest effect in driving energy sustainability. Effective energy education is one approach for changing behavior, in particular for low-income residents, given that high rates of energy consumption may be disproportionate to their income and they may reside in less efficient homes than the rest of the population. This article identifies the three key behaviors of low-income residents that have been shown to drive energy usage and discusses alternatives for effective energy education.

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