Center Press

NEREJ: Retrofitting existing buildings is new frontier of energy efficiency

The New England Real Estate Journal has published a new column by CGBC Director Ali Malkawi about the importance of energy efficiency in buildings and the Center’s HouseZero retrofit project. Recognizing building energy consumption as a major contributor to climate change, Malkawi intends for HouseZero to “demonstrate how to transform one of the most challenging building types – an existing home – into a prototype that will model ultra-efficiency for other property owners.” The project will change “the paradigm for ultra-efficiency from one focused on energy production to curbing energy demand,” and will offer data and insight into improving energy efficiency for existing building stock.

Read the column here.

Harvard Gazette Q&A: A house that produces energy

The Harvard Gazette has published a new interview with Founding Director Ali Malkawi about CGBC’s retrofit of HouseZero, which strives “to produce more energy than it consumes — with zero carbon emissions and using daylighting and natural ventilation instead of an HVAC system — while serving as a learning center for students and a testing ground for emerging technologies.” In this wide-ranging interview, Professor Malkawi discusses the project in detail, highlighting the role he hopes it will play in moving building design toward ultra-efficiency. Malkawi explains that the Center “wanted to push a standard that doesn’t exist that will push efficiency to its limit[,] we wanted to identify that standard, and show that it’s possible and performance-driven.”

Read the article here. GSD coverage here.

Architizer: Converting a Building Into an Energy-Efficient Predictive Piece of Architecture

Architizer profiles CGBC’s project “to convert its headquarters, a 1924 stick-built house in Cambridge, into HouseZero, a sustainable system that is expected to set a precedent for the future of green reconstruction around the world.” Professor Malkawi, founding director of the CGBC, explains that his goal is to “show how this can be replicated almost anywhere” to enhance existing building stock. The article discusses the building’s future ability, once fully retrofitted, to predict and adapt to changing weather patterns and generate new levels of proficiency using a combination of advanced sustainable technologies.

Read the article here.

Dezeen: HouseZero aims to “solve one of the world’s biggest energy problems”

Dezeen profiles CGBC’s HouseZero project “to retrofit an old house, demonstrating how existing buildings can be made more energy efficient to help address climate change.” The retrofit challenges the idea that you have to build new homes from scratch in order to implement energy-efficient design. Professor Malkawi, founding director of the CGBC, explains that his goal is to “show how this can be replicated almost anywhere” to enhance existing building stock.

Read the article here.

Architect’s Newspaper: Turning this old house at Harvard into ultra energy-efficient building

Architect’s Newspaper profiles CGBC’s HouseZero project “to transform its headquarters into a test site for technology that may make it easier to retrofit older homes.” Designed by Snøhetta, the HouseZero project revamps the CGBC’s 1924 stick-built house to run without an HVAC system, without daytime electric lighting, and produce zero carbon emissions, among other efficiencies.

Read the article here.

Curbed: Building a model for energy efficiency by renovating a decades–old home

Curbed profiles Harvard CGBC’s HouzeZero project “creating a new prototype of ultra-efficient building that requires almost zero energy, relies on natural daylighting, and produces no carbon emissions.” The website spotlights energy-saving designs, such as “the geothermal wells, which can draw up underground heat or help cool the building, and a concrete slab, which functions as a thermal mass, soaking up heat like a sponge during the winter.” Professor Ali Malkawi, CGBC Director, seeks to “collect so much information from the building itself, it’s going to be like a lab.”

Read more here.

Construction Drive: Harvard to give 1920s house a green overhaul

CGBC’s HouseZero project is featured in Construction Dive. The piece offers an overview of the retrofit’s energy-saving changes such as “eliminating the HVAC system for a thermal mass to absorb and store heat as well as a ground-source heat pump; an automated system will use algorithms to open and close windows” and “daylight-enhancing features to eliminate the need for electric lighting during the day,” which will result in a positive energy building. The author goes on to offer insight into the energy consumption of existing residential buildings nationwide.

Read the piece here.

Archinect: Maximum sustainability in Harvard GSD and Snøhetta’s “HouseZero”

CGBC’s HouseZero retrofit project is featured on Archinect. The author offers an overview of the project’s intent to provide a sustainable model for retrofitting existing residential buildings.  The piece goes on to describe CGBC’s goals to both achieve “100% natural ventilation, 100% daylight autonomy, almost zero energy required for heating and cooling, and zero carbon emissions, including embodied energy in materials” and provide a living lab for its researchers.

Read more here.

Metro: Harvard is updating a home from the 1920s to be ‘ultra’ energy efficient

Today, Metro features CGBC’s HouseZero: a “first-of-its-kind” project that challenges the idea that you have to build new homes from scratch in order to implement energy-efficient design. Professor Malkawi, founding director of the CGBC, explains that his goal was to “push the limit” for what energy-efficient upgrades can be added to an existing home — a part of the market people think “you can’t do much with,” he said — which could help curb climate change and also help current property owners save money.  Read the article here.

Fast Company: This super-efficient renovation is a model for lowering a house’s energy footprint

CGBC’s HouseZero project is featured in Fast Company. The piece explains how a retrofit of CGBC headquarters will result in a positive energy building. “We could have done something that’s futuristic,” says Ali Malkawi, professor of architectural technology at the GSD, founding director of the CGBC and the creator of the HouseZero project. “But what we chose to do is use existing ideas and technologies, put them all together, and see what we can do and push and reach goals that no one has reached before in terms of retrofits.” Read the piece here.