The primary activity of the Minnesota Sustainable Housing Initiative is the creation of a knowledge base. The knowledge base is a collection of information, tools, and protocols for sustainable building, intended to inform and support the Minnesota affordable housing community. This website will serve as the home of the evolving knowledge base to ensure wide access and to allow for the easy expansion of the information presented as the knowledge base evolves. At the core of the knowledge base will be a set of tools and protocols to evaluate and measure performance outcomes against program goals. In addition, it will serve as the long-term public repository for regional case studies. The case studies will include life cycle costs, providing reliable information for decision makers, and examples of effective solutions.
The Minnesota Sustainable Housing Initiative is funded by generous support from the McKnight Foundation.
The work plan is structured to support the development of the knowledge base. There is significant overlap and interaction between tasks - information developed in one task provides the tools for another. An advisory board of local and regional stakeholders will be formed to assist in and oversee the development of the knowledge base. The development of protocols and tools to evaluate performance outcomes for projects and individual strategies will allow users to measure their own progress. Case study development will highlight replicable examples of green strategies that are being employed locally. Case studies will be used for the testing and demonstration of evaluation protocols and tools developed.
The team will work directly with Minnesota Housing and their funding partners to uncover barriers to incorporating green strategies at the funding level, thereby creating an opportunity to provide information to help overcome those barriers. It will also serve as a prime testing ground for tools. A partnership with the Green Institute and the Central Community Housing Trust will provide valuable information regarding the challenges faced in attempting to integrate sustainable criteria and strategies into the affordable housing development process.
A website will be created to disseminate the information gathered and the tools developed. Further dissemination and outreach will occur through participation in conferences, lectures, exhibits, and an e-newsletter. This will give users an opportunity to provide feedback on the content and format of the information.