Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 67.61
Liaison Julie Hopwood
Submission Date Sept. 28, 2012
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

Ball State University
IN-2: Innovation 2

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Jonathan Spodek
Associate Professor
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:

Eco-Rehab is an immersive learning community outreach program administered in cooperation with the College of Architecture and Planning.

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
The website URL where information about the innovation is available:

EcoREHAB Overview
(updated. Sept 2012)

The ecoREHAB initiative was established in 2009. Working collaboratively with Ball State University, the City of Muncie’s Department of Community Development and the local non-profit agency ecoREHAB of Muncie, Inc. this outreach program’s aim is to provide leadership in the ecologically sound, green and sustainable rehabilitation of existing and abandoned housing. This initiative benefits not only Ball State students, but the communities of Muncie in taking steps to achieving the National Goals Towards Sustainable Development in the areas of environmental protection, economic prosperity and social equity.

Communities need resources to aid homeowners, neighborhood groups, and developers and a strategy for re-investment in the existing housing stock and older neighborhoods. These are some of the city’s greatest assets, but they are presently devalued and under-utilized. Affordability has often looked only at rents or first cost but ignore the ongoing costs of maintenance, utilities, and the long term impact on neighborhoods. The perception that costs traditionally associated with rehabbing older homes are higher than new construction leads to a desire for new housing. Yet, “the greenest building is the one that is already built,” and research shows that existing buildings have the potential to be far more energy efficient than commonly assumed. The green movement is creating an ever expanding toolbox of products, materials, and strategies that can be used to address these concerns.

EcoREHAB engages in activities that include:
• acquisition and ecologically sustainable rehabilitation of affordable housing;
• providing resources to aid homeowners in rehabilitation of existing housing following sustainable design, material and system strategies; and
• other activities relative to housing that help the community to achieve the triple-bottom-line of economic prosperity, environmental protection, and social equity.

The four objectives of ecoREHAB are:

1) Rehabilitating existing houses while promoting and following green and sustainable building practices. Completed ecoREHAB projects will be economically competitive with more traditional quality rehab methods;
2) Providing an immersive learning experience for Ball State University students. Engage students with ecoREHAB and the City of Muncie in the planning, budgeting, administration and construction of these projects;
3) Establishing a design assistance center for private home owners and other non-profit entities to get design and technical assistance in sustainable design, material and system strategies for the rehabilitation of existing houses;
4) Offering training outreach programs to communities, community development corporations and individuals on methods of integrating similar programs and lessons learned by ecoREHAB.

To date, the ecoREHAB initiative has renovated two abandoned houses returning them to occupancy. A third house is currently being renovated and a fourth is in the planning stages. Each of these houses follows a 9 point metric of green construction methods.

1. Integrated Site Development - Site develop is just as important as building development when attending to sustainable building practices. By addressing the lot outside of the house, a comprehensive approach to sustainable design can not only improve the environment, but also increase energy efficiency and help create a healthy residential environment

2. Reduction of domestic waster usage - According to USGS statistics, each person living in the United States uses on average 89 gallons of water each day. In Indiana that number is slightly lower averaging 76 gallons per day. Water conservation methods and fixtures are readily available to reduce both interior and exterior water use.

3. Energy Conservation – Energy conservation can simply be defined as measures that either increase the efficiency of how we consume energy or reducing our energy consumption. ecoREHAB’s work employs four approaches to achieve energy conservation. 1) Understand how our energy resources are being used in the house in order to effectively reduce consumption; 2) Reduce the need for energy through our behaviors and choices; 3) Look for alternative or renewable energy sources; and 4) Ensure the fixtures, equipment, and parts used in this house are working at the highest efficiency levels available.

4. Reduction of Construction Waste - By minimizing construction waste, we reduce the burden on landfills and their potential hazardous effects. EcoREHAB employs strict measures to reuse, reclaim, or recycle as much material from the demolition phases of their project and to use as much salvage material as possible coming from deconstruction projects undertaken by the city.

5. Use of Reclaimed Materials - Using salvaged and reclaimed material may be considered the ultimate sustainable building practice. Not only does it reduce waste and landfill burdens, it eliminates the need to use energy and virgin resources to create new products. The reclaimed materials came from a variety of sources. The most direct is by thoughtfully deconstructing building components during the demolition phase of the project. Not all materials needed can come from salvage or reclaiming, but it is always the first choice.

6. Use of low/no VOC materials - According to the EPA, indoor air is three times more polluted than outdoor air and is one of the top five hazards to human health due to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in paints, finishes, and other building components. Finishes included in ecoREHAB projects are low/no VOC to the fullest extent possible.

7. Alignment of the Thermal and Pressure Barriers – Alignment of the thermal barrier and the pressure barrier is critical to the energy efficiency of a house. The two biggest factors of building weatherization is energy loss through air leakage and energy loss through thermal conduction. The pressure boundary defines the separation of outdoor air and indoor conditioned air. By properly sealing the house and minimizing air leakage, the conditioned indoor air is kept inside the house. By providing the proper level and type of insulation in the same place as the defined pressure boundary the insulation works to its fullest capacity minimizing heat loss by thermal conduction.

8. Cool Roofs – Utilizing cool roof strategies is essential not just for occupant comfort but to mitigate heat island effect. EcoREHAB project use a combination of Energy Star certified asphalt shingles, metal roofing, and white roofing, that meet Cool Roof Rating Council certification standards for reflectance and emissivity lowering attic and rooftop temperatures, as well as reducing energy costs and CO2 emissions by keeping buildings cooler inside.

9. Addressing concerns about Windows – Windows and doors are often considered a key components to a home’s aesthetics, comfort, and energy efficiency, based on its performance of air flow, heat, and solar irradiation. The broken glass and weather stripping on the existing windows are replaced and also given a quality storm window, providing an estimated U- factor of 0.50. Where new windows were required, EnergyStar rated windows were installed providing U-factors from 0.29 to 0.30 and solar heat gain coefficients from 0.19 to 0.30.

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