A few notes from the green building tour I took at the Greenbuild 2013 conference in Philadelphia recently...
This tour (TF06)was called "Rebirth of a Neighborhood: Going Green in Northern Liberties and Kensington," and included residences constructed by Onion Flats (Rag Flats and The Twins), Kensington CAPA school, and Postgreen rowhouses (100k and Skinny).
Rowhouses in Philadelphia's working-class neighborhoods are often of bandbox or trinity type, constructed with a central staircase. The residences we visited incorporated sustainable features such as pervious paving, plyboo (bamboo plywood), rain chains, intensive green roofs, SIPs, induction cooktops, radiant floor slab heating, ERV Ultimate Air RecoupAerator fans, skylights for minimal electric lighting, HVAC hydronic distribution, and mini-split heat pumps. It was noted that the use of SIPs allowed builders to avoid thermal bridging by hanging joists on the inside face of SIP walls as with rimboard deck construction. In-floor storage and no second floor heating contributed to overall efficiency.
The Kensington High School for Creative And Performing Arts (CAPA) features large windows and sawtooth roof construction to allow for maximum daylight, along with solar panels, geothermal wells, and heat pumps for optimal energy efficiency. Much attention was given to community revitalization in this transitional neighborhood: for instance, the 500-foot deep rainwater tank was buried onsite lest it be punctured by drive-by shootings. The school was constructed on a remediated brownfield with special considerations for stormwater management and public transportation access.
See more photos here.