Cold Climate Houseplans

We offer two-bedroom, three-bedroom and four-bedroom houseplans for low-cost housing in cold climates. These plans represent housing performance at its best. Our highly detailed plans include the following resource efficiency features:

These plans represent housing performance at its best. Our cold-climate houseplans are based on detailed field research results from the award-winning Montana Superinsulation Project and on the experience of a critically acclaimed and highly successful series of house plans for low-cost, high performance homes.

These earlier plans were acclaimed by Ned Nisson who wrote in The Superinsulated Home Book, “Their houseplans are considered the best available.” All of our detailed plans are designed¬†with Habitat for Humanity affiliate partner families and homeowners in mind.

Why Did We Develop These Plans?

For low-income and disadvantaged Americans, energy can represent more than 15 percent of their household budget. Many disadvantaged families must choose between food and heat, or between medicines and providing cooling vital to health.

What if the affordable housing consumer was put first? What if houses were designed and built to use the least possible energy, water and natural resources, while having excellent health, safety and comfort characteristics? What if houses were built to be affordable for the long-term? What if the affordable housing consumer was put first? The result was measured total house energy savings of more than 50 percent over current practice.

What if some of the the nation’s leading resource and energy experts put their talents toward solving this problem? The result would be savings for disadvantaged families of from $500 to $1,000 a year, putting needed food on the table and clothes on children.

More than a decade ago, we proved that low-cost housing for cold climates could be built to use less than $200 a year in space heat, while overall first costs were essentially the same as similar housing built without the efficiency features. The result was measured total house energy savings of more than 50 percent over current practice. Now, it’s time to expand on this work and transfer it to those who need it most.

The National Affordable Housing Network is working to dramatically change the way that affordable housing is built in this country. To achive these results, we:

  • provide technical support and education to housing organizations serving the disadvantaged;
  • produce information products and communications support among energy practitioners to provide a way for non-profit housing organizations to get the help they need;
  • develop demonstrations of resource- efficient, affordable housing to provide verification of energy and resource efficiency measures;
  • develop highly detailed, easy-to-follow houseplans and graphics to allow volunteers and self-help builders to follow step-by-step guidelines, while sharply reducing or eliminating marginal costs;
  • develop partnerships between utilities and low-cost housing producers to design innovative low-income programs to help change practice;
  • develop specifications and detailed guidance for adding efficiency in both rehabilitation and manufactured housing.

Our highly detailed, easy-to-follow house plans and graphics allow volunteers and self-help builders to follow step-by-step guidelines, while sharply reducing or eliminating marginal costs.