Resiliency Analysis: Multi-Family Housing Project 2021

The Architecture at Zero competition 2021-22 was a challenge to create housing with low carbon emissions for farmworker families in California's Central Valley. The project's key aspects include responding to equity and resiliency challenges as part of the design solution.

The project design team was led by Architect Larry Wolff, AIA, of StudioWolff, with Red Car Analytics' Neil Bulger, PE providing strategic design support for resilient systems and passive design for survivability. The affordable family housing project in Visalia, CA focused on creating a housing environment to provide families with a highly sustainable quality of life and serve as a case study for zero-carbon living. The community is designed to be all-electric and net zero energy, producing more energy from on-site solar PV than consumed in a year.

The design utilizes a holistic approach to reducing energy use, investing in a high-performance building envelope and reduced and simplified building systems for heating and cooling. The building insulation and materials provide a robust, durable envelope that keeps heat in during winter and out during summer. The use of interior finishes, natural ventilation, and ceiling fans allow the building to open and passively cool at night, reducing the need for active air conditioning as much as possible.

  • Project:  Affordable Housing
  • Location: Visalia, CA
  • Size:  105 new units, ranging in size from 450-1250 sq ft
  • Target:
  • Zero-Carbon Living through Passive design,
  • Energy efficiency
    • Systems:
      • All-electric,
      • Net zero energy,
      • On-site solar PV
      • High performance building envelope

Services Provided:

  • Resiliency analysis of design for passive survivability, maintaining critical life-support conditions with loss of power and/or water.
  • Completion:  2021

The analysis evaluated how the building could be designed for passive survivability. A building’s passive survivability refers to its capacity to maintain essential life-support conditions in the event of extended loss of power or water; or in the event of extreme heat waves, storms, or other unforeseen events.