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Northfield, MN 2021

Sustainability Research & Education Services

The Hillcrest Village project includes seventeen units of townhomes designed to passive house standards of energy efficiency that are all-electric and offset to net-zero energy use with on-site solar. One duplex will be passive house certified through PHIUS+2018. While there is an assumption that these measures will positively impact the residents of this community, rarely are post-occupancy studies conducted that capture the perspectives of actual residents. These stories are critical for informing the design of future efficient homes, and if the stories are positive, may encourage other developers to invest in energy efficiency and solar production for supportive housing.

The Hillcrest Energy Engagement project, funded by a CERTs SEED Grant, will engage residents living in a net-zero community in a dialogue about their lived experience and perceptions while providing education about the energy efficiency and renewable energy features of their homes and asking for their reactions to these materials (informational magnets and a welcome packet for their home). From these conversations, the project team will develop lessons learned that can inform future net-zero energy affordable housing development in a way that prioritizes the experiences of actual residents, a population most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.


  • Community Action Center of Northfield


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