Building America Case Study: Demonstration House of Cold-Climate Solutions for Affordable Housing, Minneapolis, Minnesota

T. Schirber, C. Ojczyk, R. Jacobson

Research output: NRELFact Sheet


Single family homes in urban areas that are available for renovation by nonprofit developers are often in rough shape (1MM to 2MM nationally). Budgeting has historically focused on improving homes to meet basic housing standards. A rising interest in the long-term impact of homeownership has introduced the need to balance basic needs with home performance. This demonstration project aims to help nonprofit affordable housing developers become familiar with three Building America performance measures, the installation processes, and impacts and benefits of each. A story and a half home in North Minneapolis, MN was presented by Urban Homeworks our local nonprofit partner. The team helped them install three researched upgrade measures: exterior roof insulation or 'overcoat,' exterior foundation insulation, or 'excavationless', and a combined space and water heating HVAC system or 'combi'. To maximize efficiency of application and to address budget issues, the Team worked with Urban Homeworks to identify ways to use volunteers and construction training programs to install the measures. An open invitation to visit the job site was extended to other nonprofit developers and industry partners to encourage dialog about the systems during live installation.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages2
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Work performed by NorthernSTAR Building America Partnership, St. Paul, Minnesota

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/FS-5500-65408

Other Report Number

  • DOE/GO-102016-4828


  • affordable home renovation
  • below grade insulation
  • Building America
  • combination space and water heating
  • exterior foundation insulation
  • exterior roof insulation
  • hydronic fan coil
  • hydrovac excavation
  • nonprofit affordable housing
  • NorthernSTAR
  • residential
  • residential buildings


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