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Arup: Affordable yet high-performing housing at Nohona Hale

By Karen Duffin on Monday 29 October 2018

Arup used the IESVE software to provide energy modeling and sustainability consulting for this unique, high-performance housing complex in Honolulu, which is on track to achieve LEED Gold. The project showcases how affordable housing projects can be designed to high-performing and green building standards. 

Arup and the project team worked in close collaboration to design a micro-unit high-rise residential building that will revitalize the Kaka’ako neighborhood through both affordable housing and low-impact, sustainable design. 

Hawaii produces no natural gas or coal that could be used for heating, and the electricity rates used for the rest of the energy end uses are high when compared to the rest of the States. This means that the design options were optimized to fine-balance occupant comfort and high performance. On the other hand, the consistent mild temperatures and gentle winds of the Hawaiian climate made this project the ideal candidate for a low energy - low impact development.

The Nohona Hale building will consist of 111 residential units. Fourteen residential floors are being built above two podium levels of communal space, which will include an urban farm, kitchen and dining space, and a fitness center. Only the first two levels will be equipped with air-conditioning, as natural ventilation throughout the units will take advantage of Hawaii’s mild climate and save the residents in electric bills. 

The team is implementing several strategies to target stringent LEED Gold version 4 for a multifamily mid-rise, which is based on ASHRAE 90.1-2010. This includes a high-performance façade design with photovoltaic panels on the south side of the building (minimizing solar gain while maintaining the views), and solar thermal panels on the rooftop for domestic hot water. Daylighting sensors reduce the LED lighting loads even further. The result will be a naturally ventilated building with estimated energy cost savings exceeding the ASHRAE baseline by 30%.

“IESVE is the most sophisticated software package for building energy simulations in the industry. It enabled us to effectively model the complex and dynamic features of the design, as well as helped us understand and comply with occupant comfort criteria that are critical in a naturally ventilated building.”

Panos Bakos, Senior Building Physics Engineer & Frances Yang, Senior Sustainable Structures and Materials Specialist, Arup.

Project Team:

  • Developer: Bronx Pro Group LLC
  • Co-Developer and Management: EAH Housing
  • Architect: WCIT Architecture