Biotown USA: an affordable green housing hub?
Since 2005, the tiny town of Reynolds, Indiana, has been hard at work developing itself into Biotown USA. This designation awarded by the state government meant that Reynolds would become a hub for energy experimentation… particularly in using agricultural wastes and byproducts to power the community.
Of course, effective use of any kind of renewables requires an efficient building stock… and this small, rural community can’t necessarily afford cutting-edge (and often high-priced) green housing.
Enter Purdue University’s Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS), and Habitat for Humanity of Lafayette. The two organizations have worked together since 2008 in Reynolds to create an eco-friendly house that meets the needs of Biotown residents and “…will lead the way in environmentally friendly and energy efficiency practices.”
That house is currently under construction; the project team has also developed home selection guide that provides plans, construction details, efficiency options, and costs of operation. On March 27, they’ll show off their work as a part of a Green Building Seminar at Purdue.
As the project’s still in the works, we’ll have to wait and see how well the home performs. Regardless, the collective effort centered on a small, out-of-the-way community may produce results no higher-end urban design firm could have imagined… so we hope.
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Photo: an aerial view of Reynolds; Source: Indiana Office of Energy Development