WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Enterprise Community Partners showcased Native American communities’ use of sustainable design and construction strategies at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian May 2 according to a news release issued by HUD.
“Building sustainable housing allows tribes to better control operating and utility costs, and produce homes that are healthier, more comfortable, durable and energy efficient,” said Rodger Boyd, deputy assistant secretary for HUD’s Office of Native American Programs. “The event illustrates the long-term value of thoughtful planning and integrated whole building design.”
The Navajo Nation was one of 22-featured tribal communities to incorporate sustainable and resource-efficient elements in their affordable housing and community development projects.
The program is part of the Sustainable Construction in Indian County initiative. This joint venture was developed to promote understanding of the benefits of sustainable construction and help spur widespread adoption of sustainable construction technologies in Indian Country.
The following tribal communities were recognized:
Native Village of Kwinhagak (NVK), Housing Department, Quinhagak, Alaska.
NVK is constructing two housing designs that can withstand the region’s wet and windy weather and developing a self-help housing construction program to defray housing costs. The designs focus on durability, energy efficiency and lightweight materials. They include a number of design innovations, such as a continuous monolithic thermal envelope, which is a lightweight wall system coated with spray foam on the inside of its exterior wall.
Cocopah Indian Tribe, Cocopah Indian Housing and Development, Somerton, Ariz.
To combat desert heat and dryness, the CIHAD has worked with its utility provider to make affordable energy efficiency improvements to three apartment buildings. The CIHAD is in the process of installing low- emissivity windows, 30-year shingles, and upgraded air conditioning and energy efficient appliances. A utility program provided compact fluorescent lamps, faucet aerators and low-flow showerheads as well as utility bill data to assist the CIHAD in determining baseline costs.
Navajo Nation, Navajo Housing Authority, Window Rock, Ariz.
As part of a move to integrate sustainability into their regular housing development practices, the NHA is exploring the potential for developing an interdisciplinary design review commission, revising the RFQ/RFP selection process to reflect cultural/sustainable goals, and adopting a community-based design/planning process, together with a modified Navajo version of Enterprise Green Communities criteria.
Nez Perce Tribe, Nez Perce Housing Authority, Lapwai, Idaho.
NPHA is planning 20 duplex housing units, which will be constructed with straw bale infill, timber framing and structural insulated panels for the roof, all on a frost protected shallow foundation. Cultural design features include east-facing doorways and circular housing clusters with primary eastern orientation, materials that recall traditional reed mat homes, “shed roof forms” to recall extended teepees, and carports constructed with wood frames to recall Nez Perce traditional shade structures.
Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Department of Natural Resources, Dowagiac, Mich.
The Band’s long-term plan views water management and conservation as an integral aspect of a well-thought-out land use and community planning strategy. As such, the project’s watershed protection features include bioswales, cluster housing design, permeable pavement, and replacement of invasive plant species with prairie grasses and indigenous vegetation.
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MBCI), Choctaw Housing Authority (CHA), Choctaw, Miss.
Over the past three years, the CHA has constructed 74 single-family homes and eight duplexes with SIP walls and roof. Additionally, all of the homes are additionally equipped with low-emissivity windows and doors, CFL lighting, high efficiency HVAC systems, and Energy Star® appliances.
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, Akwesasne Housing Authority, Hogansburg, N.Y.
The AHA completed construction on five quadplex buildings for elders in a sustainable community setting. The units feature geothermal heating (and cooling in the training center only), six solar photovoltaic arrays, solar domestic hot water (DHW) systems, insulated concrete form wall systems, metal roofing, sky lighting tubes, stormwater management and pollution control, Energy Star® appliances, light-emitting diode (LED) and CFL lighting, as well as dual flush toilets, faucet aerators and low-flow showerheads.
Muscogee Creek Nation, Environmental Services, Okmulgee, Okla.
The Muscogee Creek Nation housing authority is constructing homes with structural insulated panel (SIP) walls and roofs, which are assembled at the tribe’s SIPs plant. The houses also include energy efficient windows, LED lighting, Energy Star® appliances, and hot water tanks operating off a geothermal system. Additionally, the tribe is incorporating geothermal heating systems, installed by the tribe using its own geothermal rig.