Net Zero Energy & Energy Positive Cohousing (Mary Kraus)

Presented by Mary Kraus

Session Description

Cohousing Communities can be designed and built - and lived in - to produce more energy than they consume. This presentation will focus primarily on Village Hill Cohousing, a 32-unit community planned for Northampton, MA. The homes and common house at Village Hill Cohousing are designed to a high standard of energy-efficiency, with photovoltaic systems to offset on a yearly basis the energy used to heat, cool, ventilate, produce hot water, and run lighting and appliances. The overall energy picture includes photovoltaic-clad carports with the option of plug-in stations for electric vehicles. Additionally, the location on a bus route and within walking distance of a vibrant downtown provides the opportunity for a low transportation footprint. The presentation will also outline other sustainable strategies explored for this project, including the Living Building Challenge "Petal Certification". As a second example, we will look at a net zero energy retrofit at Pioneer Valley Cohousing in Amherst, MA, as a way of illustrating changes that can be employed to bring existing communities to net zero energy.

About the Presenter

Mary Kraus is a cohousing architect who has been working with communities across North America since 1990. In collaboration with Laura Fitch, she pioneered a distinctive participatory process for cohousing design. She has served on the boards of the Cohousing Network and the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association. Mary lives at Pioneer Valley Cohousing, the first cohousing community completed in the eastern US (in 1994) – lending daily personal insight to her work with cohousing groups.
Email mary [at] marykrausarchitect [dot] com