Accelerating emission reductions through building renovations targeting energy efficiency, energy burdens, health, and expanded workforce for diverse communities.

Emissions from buildings reached the highest ever recorded levels in 2019. The current renovation rates of 1% annually could lock-in most existing buildings in a high carbon emissions future. Barriers include lack of awareness, affordability, and inadequate supply of skilled workforce. These barriers hit low-income households the hardest, particularly those with seniors and people with disabilities.

Community-scale efforts that offer support for the renovating clusters of buildings can address these barriers. Such efforts include home energy audits, access to local demonstration homes, hands-on support for determining appropriate energy efficiency measures and renewable technologies, and workforce development.

Penn State, a land-grant university with a statewide presence, along with its partners will develop blueprints for extending this approach to diverse communities. Outcomes over 5 years include reduced energy use and expenses in buildings by 10%, workforce development for 10,000 people, and reduced hospital visits by 10% through improved indoor environment.

The Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program at Penn State

PennTAP focuses on helping Pennsylvania businesses though two primary areas of expertise: Energy and Environmental Services and Innovation Services.

Since being founded in 1965, PennTAP has delivered services and solutions to countless Pennsylvania businesses and professionals, creating a legacy of documented economic impact within the state and positive returns on investments to funding partners. In the past 10 years alone, PennTAP has worked with more than 3,700 organizations, who have in turn reported approximately $300 million in economic benefits and the creation or retention of more than 4,000 Pennsylvania jobs.

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Penn State Beaver and Community

A stronger focus on sustainability and the environment is leading to greener considerations in renovation projects.

Penn State Beaver is planning renovation of its General Classroom Building and will partner with University Libraries on a feasibility study for a renovation of the campus library. The campus is also reconsidering our outdoor spaces, including our campus entrance. As a Commonwealth Campus, Penn State Beaver is also looking outward to the local community and working with community leaders to create an innovation corridor that would include a children’s museum, a community arts center (the first LEED-certified building in the county), and the Beaver Valley Hub for Innovation, Venture, and Entrepreneurship.

Energy Efficient Housing Research Group

The Energy Efficient Housing Research Group is concerned with the study, design, and implementation of Responsible Housing.

EEHR defines responsible housing as well-designed homes that are affordable; sustainable; and healthful. EEHR is an outreach arm of the Hamer Center for Community Design within Penn State's College of Arts and Architecture. The group is a multidisciplinary team of faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students from across the University dedicated to the investigation of responsible housing in order to inform better housing and more resource-conscious living.

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New Kensington Innovation and Revitalization

Community-Driven Transformation of New Kensington’s Fifth Avenue.

In concurrence with the Fall 2017 opening of the Penn State New Kensington Entrepreneurial Center in downtown New Kensington, there is an opportunity, in parallel with multiple synergistic revitalization efforts also already in progress, to capture the imagination of people coming to the new Entrepreneurial Center to encourage them to stay and invest in the developing downtown, sparking further revitalization within the city.

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Partners

Global Building Network: http://globalbuilding.psu.edu
The BRE Trust: https://www.bretrust.org.uk
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy: https://www.aceee.org/program/health-environment
Consortium for Building Energy Innovation: http://www.cbei.psu.edu
Energy Innovation Center: http://www.eicpittsburgh.org

Highlights

As a University community, Penn State strives to reduce emissions. The University measures and shares its statistics on emission reductions.

Additionally, Penn State was featured by National Public Radio with the story: "How Penn State Is Cutting Greenhouse Emissions In Half — And Saving Money."