Rusty Smith Emily McGlohn Mackenzie Stagg

Front-Porch Initiative: Designing and Building Energy-Efficient, Affordable Rural Housing in West Alabama

A Talk by Rusty Smith , Mackenzie Stagg and Emily McGlohn

Proudly supported by

About this Talk

For 26 years, Auburn University Rural Studio has engaged in research and real-world applications relating to rural housing in West Alabama, where approximately 30% of the population lives below the poverty line. Harnessing decades of knowledge, Rural Studio’s Front Porch Initiative aims to extend the impact of our housing affordability research by providing designs and technical assistance to housing providers. Directly addressing the systemic issues underlying affordability, the project analyzes not only what a house costs to construct, but also what it affords the homeowner, lender, and insurer. By linking home finance with building performance, the Initiative is working to create a new paradigm for housing affordability. This session will highlight Rural Studio’s iterative design/build process, showcase how we work with housing providers to scale the impacts of the research, and describe a finance model that could benefit homeowners, builders, lenders, and insurers across all home price-points.

Learning Objectives:

Identify potential challenges and opportunities in incorporating multiple third-party certifications into a single home and strategies to mitigate conflicts during the planning process. Define evaluation criteria and analytical methods for selecting between various strategies for achieving beyond-code building assemblies. Explain the barriers and strategies to incorporating performance standards into current mortgage lending practices. Identify areas where enhanced building performance can lower monthly costs for homeowners and add value to the home.

About The Speakers

Rusty Smith

Rusty Smith


Mackenzie Stagg

Mackenzie Stagg


Emily McGlohn

Emily McGlohn