Case studies are a key method of sharing lessons learned from the
field. Case studies here are drawn from exemplary projects around the
region and the world. They are organized by two project categories. The
first group, New Construction and Substantial Renovation concentrates on
developer driven projects using a sustainability framework such as Green
Communities or LEED. The second group, Retrofit and Limited Renovation
examines projects undertaken between major reinvestment and
recapitalization. Projects are owner and manager driven with limited
In addition to case studies, there are also multifamily buildings
energy profiles and multifamily prototypes. The multifamily buildings
energy profiles utilizes data from the EnergyScoreCards Minnesota pilot
project. They are organized by meter configuration (e.g. master metered
buildings) and tenant type (e.g. family). They are intended to help
property owners and managers understand how their properties compare to
other similar properties.
The multifamily prototypes illustrate a ladder of performance leading
to net-zero energy construction. They include townhomes, low-rise
apartments up to three stories and mid-rise apartments. They are
intended to provide development teams information on envelope and
mechanical system performance during the earliest phases of a project.
Each building type has a profile based on current practice, high
performance and Passive House (PHIUS) standards to illustrate a ladder
of performance leading to net-zero energy construction.
Many of the case studies included in this section have participated in energy efficiency, health home, and sustainable certification programs. Project participation is identified by program logos on the sub-directory page.
Energy Star for Homes
ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy intended to save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. A range of ENERGY STAR programs apply to housing, including new home certification, appliances, windows, and heating and cooling equipment.
Green Communities and Minnesota Green Communities Initiative
Enterprise Green Communities homes are built according to the Green Communities Criteria, the first national framework for healthy, efficient, environmentally smart, affordable homes. In Minnesota, this program has been spearheaded by Minnesota Green Communities in cooperation with Minnesota Housing, which now requires the use of Green Communities with the Minnesota Overlay for all funded projects.
The American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest Health House® program is a resource for consumers and builders focusing on health and indoor environmental quality. It is intended to assist in the construction and maintenance of healthier homes.
Living Building Challenge
The Living Building Challenge (LBC) is a building certification program put forth by the International Living Futures Institute. The challenge requires projects to meet a high bar of performance, include net positive water and energy. It is organized into seven petals: Place, Water, Energy, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty.
The Passive House standard is an aggressive global energy reduction program for homes. It originated in Germany in 1991. In the United States, the Institute US (PHIUS) is the sanctioned certifier of the standard. PHIUS is a consulting and research firm working to further the nationwide implementation of Passive House standards and techniques.
USGBC LEED for Homes
The United States Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a national certification program. USGBC's LEED for Homes, LEED Mid-Rise (pilot), and LEED for New Construction have been utilized locally by organizations exploring sustainable development practices.