Maxie St. Townhomes
LOCATION AND LINKAGE STRATEGIES:
The houses are located a couple of blocks away from the Washington Street corridor with convenient access to public transportation and community resources.
SUSTAINABLE SITE STRATEGIES:
The site has a high level of permeability to minimize runoff and flooding. Drought-tolerant and native plants are used, and the turf area has been limited. Non-toxic pest control measures were also adopted such as sealing all exterior cracks and installing termite blocking devices around slab penetra-tions.
WATER EFFICIENCY STRATEGIES:
Strategies to minimize the indoor water use have been adopted by installing low flow faucets and dual flush toilets.
ENERGY AND ATMOSPHERE STRATEGIES:
The HVAC system has a very high level of efficiency (17 SEER), while providing extra comfort. Pro-grammable thermostats and indoor humidity controls enhance the performance. This equipment, combined with tight construction, tank-less water heater, low-e windows and additional insulation (including a radiant barrier at the roof), help lower energy demand as much as 45% compared to typi-cal construction.
MATERIALS AND RESOURCES STRATEGIES:
This building was the first housing project in Houston to achieve LEED credit for diverting waste from the landfills to recycling facilities (mainly wood, and cardboard). Material use and waste were limited by using detailed framing drawings, trusses, and a materials staging area on site. The staging area helped minimize waste by making it difficult for framers to scrap material (locating the dumpster in a difficult-to-reach area), encouraging the reuse of wood. Environmentally preferred products were also used during construction, such as materials extracted and produced less than 500 miles away from the project (sheetrock, agregate, lumber). And materials with a low VOC content (Volatile Organic Compounds) such as paint and floor varnish contributed to enhanced indoor air quality.
INDOOR ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY STRATEGIES:
The indoor environmental quality was considered a great investment on this project, as it enhances the comfort and creates a healthy product. The homes have a fresh air intake (which mixes indoor/outdoor air before blowing it into the house through the a/c system). It also has humidity controls which allow the HVAC system to dehumidify during mild, humid weather. And, the interior air quality has been en-hanced by installing high-efficiency air filters (MERV 13). Other considerations are: sealed combustion appliances, timers for exhaust fans, improved return air flow, and an exhaust fan for the garage.
AWARENESS AND EDUCATION STRATEGIES:
These houses have been featured in publications such as the Houston Chronicle, television on Tele-mundo (Hispanic news channel), and the Houston Solar Tour.