Senior Affordable Housing Complex Boasts Certified Net Zero Energy

by Tracey Gould

Photos courtesy of Baskervill

Photos courtesy of Baskervill

Baskervill is taking the lead in affordable solutions for sustainable housing with its recently completed net-zero energy building at Beckstoffer’s Mill.

The senior housing complex is located in the historic neighborhood of Church Hill in Richmond. Baskervill provided architecture and design services for phase two of the project, which included the addition of an EarthCraft™-certified, net-zero energy building to the recently renovated H. Beckstoffer’s Sons Lumber & Millwork, a 22-unit adaptive reuse project developed by the Better Housing Coalition. The complex also includes a 32-unit, EarthCraft-certified senior apartment building across the street.

The goal of the net-zero energy building was to offer affordable housing with reduced energy costs for low-income seniors.

“Energy costs are an important aspect of affordable housing,” says Mark Larson, AIA, principal architect for the project. “In setting the goal of net-zero energy, Baskervill and Better Housing Coalition looked at each element of design that demanded or reduced the use of energy.”

BaskervillNet02The net-zero energy building is Better Housing Coalition’s first net-zero energy multifamily development and one of a handful of net-zero buildings in the city. The seven-unit building boasts 98 photovoltaic solar panels and six hot water panels on its roof that supply energy for electricity and hot water. The building’s panels have the ability to store surplus energy to be used during periods of time in which the sun does not shine. Other features include an energy recovery ventilation system that conditions incoming fresh air via heat transfer to or from outgoing stale air, depending on the season. And it has EnergyStar appliances, low-flow toilets, and high-performance, double-glazed windows. The units are also accessible to people with disabilities.

The building was constructed within feet of a former lumber mill established in 1897. This historical context significantly influenced Baskervill designers, as Better Housing Coalition, along with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, wanted the net-zero housing to complement the renovated red-brick lumber mill. The net-zero building is designed to look like a metal shed standing next to the historic mill, and the materials used in this project—corrugated stainless metal, black window and door frames, and charcoal-colored brick with silver reflective coating—seamlessly work together to evoke this design concept successfully.

“The net-zero energy housing at Beckstoffer’s Mill demonstrates that sustainable design can be part of any type of project,” Larson says. “While this residential project is designed to be net-zero in energy consumption and EarthCraft certified, it is also affordable, designed for seniors with disabilities, and approved by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources as a structure that is complementary to its historic setting.”

Tracey Gould is the Baskervill director of marketing.

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