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A Community Guide To Basic And Cost-Saving Construction In The American Southwest


Report Acceptance Date: January 2004

Posted Date: January 01, 2004

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Despite the extensive efforts of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in developing, supporting, and promoting proven, cost-effective, and cost-saving advancements in housing construction technology, the implementation of these strategies lags in many parts of the rural Southwest U.S. This book is written for non-profit housing developers, local housing advocates, self-help homeowners, and community groups that provide housing in the rural Southwest, and is intended to showcase the cost benefits of energy-efficient home construction and rehabilitation.

HUD’s Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH) is a public-private initiative dedicated to accelerating the development and use of housing technologies that improve the quality, durability, energy efficiency, environmental performance, and affordability of housing. As part of the PATH program, leaders of the homebuilding, product manufacturing, insurance, and financial industries have joined forces with representatives of federal agencies concerned with housing. Although the PATH initiative has improved the way homes throughout the U.S. are built, PATH research and resources have not reached housing providers in many parts of the rural Southwest. The objective of this book builds on the research conducted under PATH and showcases the research appropriate for housing construction in that region.

Although the quality of the housing stock in the rural Southwest has improved over the last 20 years, much of it remains inefficient, unsafe, low quality, and costly to operate. This book shows that implementing low- or no-cost construction techniques can improve the quality and energy efficiency of a home. A home that is more energy efficient consumes less energy, which results in lower utility bills and more resources for the occupant to use toward other living expenses. Even though some energy-efficient technologies cost more to implement initially, this extra cost can be offset by long-term operating savings and by Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEMs), which recognize the benefits of energy efficiency and allow homeowners to include the costs associated with energy upgrades into the total mortgage amount.

This book presents several cost-efficient practices that, when implemented, can help affordable housing providers and owners to improve a home’s performance, resulting in projects that are high quality, safe, comfortable, energy efficient, and more affordable.

This book presents more than 30 cost-saving strategies for housing construction in the rural Southwest. The description and benefits of the strategy, skill level required for implementation, the types of projects where the strategy is applicable, and installation details are included.

There are a number of obstacles that can prevent or limit affordable housing development, and they are important to understand before projects begin so that they can be considered. This book discusses regulatory obstacles to affordable housing development and those that result from peoples’ perceptions or views.

Three case studies are included as examples of how incorporating cost-saving techniques and strategies have resulted in the successful development of affordable housing. The case studies showcase the unique approach to affordable housing in Hidalgo County, Texas; how new construction techniques increase affordability in Brownsville, Texas; and how low-maintenance construction saves homeowners money in Phoenix, Arizona.

It is HUD’s hope that this book will spur other housing success stories across the rural Southwest United States.

Publication Categories: Publications     Housing Production and Technology     Building Methods     Design     Other    


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