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Blacksburg Apartments Achieve First-Ever Net-Zero Energy Certification in State

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CHP is pleased to announce that Grissom Lane Apartments in Blacksburg, Va. is the first Viridiant Net-Zero certified project in the state. As a net-zero development, each rental home produces as much or more energy than it uses.

CHP developed, designed, and constructed Grissom Lane Apartments in partnership with the Town of Blacksburg, Va. as a model of low-income housing for residents aged 55 years and older. Located on 1.2 acres, Grissom Lane Apartments has four duplex cottages with each containing two apartments with two bedrooms. The apartments were designed using Universal Design features to help facilitate aging in place for its residents and the site was rezoned to ‘planned residential,’ which allows the homes to be more intimately arranged along a short walking loop. This site design also created spaces for a community garden and central gathering area where residents have the opportunity to develop a supportive community.

Electricity at Grissom Lane Apartments is generated by a 28kW photovoltaic system, while high insulation values, extensive air sealing, Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERV), and mini-splits are used to reduce the energy demand on the homes.

To help ensure that the units achieved net-zero energy levels within their first year, CHP provided resident education on energy-efficient practices and products, and installed building performance monitoring systems to make sure everything functioned as it was designed.

“During the data collection process, we developed relationships with each of the tenants, which allowed either party to express concerns and address them in low-energy ways,” explained former CHP employee Benjamin Knopp (now with Think Little). “We had residents asking for more tips on how to reduce their energy use. Some residents even upgraded their own lights to high efficiency LED bulbs knowing they would not get the direct financial return. For them, there was a pride in using as little energy as possible because it’s the right thing to do for the community and the planet.”

“The residents learned that an energy efficient home doesn’t have to mean an uncomfortable one. Even during last winter’s single-digit temperatures and this past January’s snow storm, residents used minimal energy to heat their homes and reported their apartments still felt comfortable and warm,” stated Knopp.

The Grissom Lane Apartments are so energy efficient, in fact, that all eight units were recognized by Viridiant, formerly known as EarthCraft Virginia, at its annual awards ceremony and reception for being on its Top Ten High Performance Homes of the Year list. CHP was also named the Top High Performance Builder of the Year for the Grissom Lane Apartments development.

The March 22 awards event honored Virginia leaders for the adoption of green, sustainable housing and brought together close to 200 individuals representing home builders, nonprofit and for-profit housing providers and developers, affordable housing advocates, and those interested in creating green housing opportunities in Virginia. Awards were presented in a variety of categories to cover new construction, renovation, single family homes, multifamily housing and more.

About Viridiant
Viridiant is a non-profit organization committed to supporting sustainable building processes through education, consultation and certification. Through these efforts, Viridiant helps to set a path for businesses and homeowners to create structures that are more affordable, more livable and more durable.

Following ten years of advocating for sustainable homes and buildings across the Commonwealth, EarthCraft Virginia took on the new name Viridiant, in order to serve an even broader range of goals. The mission of Viridiant is expressed through a focus on the “Three Pillars of Sustainability”: environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and structural sustainability. Learn more at viridiant.org.