MODULE Black Street Development
Module Homes being outfitted with Unico Twist-Fit System™
Module’s Black Street Development is about bringing well-designed, contemporary homes to the urban core of Pittsburgh, and activating vacant parcels where homes have been absent for decades. The development features three residential homes (totaling four units), all which are designed to meet the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Standards. For MODULE, meeting the standard isn’t above and beyond, as they believe in providing thoughtfully designed spaces that are healthy for the people and planet. A quality home not only inspires the people who live there, but surrounding community as well.
Cobalt Creed was asked to partner with Module to install the Unico Small Duct High Velocity Twist-Fit System™. The system was installed on-site, in the SMI factory as the homes were being built. The main system components were installed in a closet and the Small Duct system fit in-between the first and second floors, in literally “4 1/2” of space.
To use the limited space efficiently, the Valentiners – working with architect Eric Bachofner and builder Jim Blankenship – designed the main floor to include cupboards that reached the ceiling and storage spaces above closets and the laundry area. All the house wiring and mechanical system are on the lower level. After consulting with Shawn Intagliata from Cobalt Creed, and visiting a home that had a Unico System installed, Ted and Linda decided on Cobalt Creeds’ small duct heating and cooling solution.
The contractor installed a 2.5-ton Unico System air handler with a hot water coil for central heating and cooling to both levels of the structure. The Unico hot water coil and a radiant floor heating system on the lower level are paired with a geothermal heat pump.Geothermal heat pumps are common in the American West and are an energy efficient and ecologically friendly method of providing indoor heating and cooling.Typically, a series of coils are buried in the ground and, in winter, heat from the earth is transferred to the interior heating coil and radiant floor system. In the summer, the process is reversed with heat being transferred from the home to the earth.
Ted and Linda couldn’t be happier with the look and performance of their Cobalt Creed solution. Having once lived in the Middle East where air conditioning is delivered by noisy, bulky conventional ducted systems, they were surprised by the quietness of The Cobalt Creed system solution. “From my time abroad and my career in project management, I know how important air handlers are,” says Ted. “I’m so pleased that the Unico air handlers’ deliver our conditioned air quietly and comfortably.”
The couple is also pleased with the low heating and cooling expenses. Living in the mountains means they don’t need to use the A/C very often but when it is hot, Ted says it works great. When forest fires crop up from time to time, he says it’s too smoky outside to open the windows, so that’s another benefit to having air conditioning. The Valentiners’ home was originally meant to be a single-story structure, but a happy, unplanned realization occurred when they began excavation. Due to the way the cabin is situated on the hillside, Ted and Linda were able to double their living space with a lower level that includes a walkout. With this happenstance, they now operate the lower level as The Old Wagon Wheel guesthouse, with a separate entrance. Beautiful wide-open spaces, fresh mountain air, cozy cabin living and superior indoor comfort courtesy of The Cobalt Creed solution. “Don’t fence me in,” indeed.
Just on Black Street alone, there are 3 public outdoor spaces — all created by different neighborhood groups and individuals for the neighborhood. The first, East Field community garden, which is on the 5500 block of Black Street has 45 raised beds — available for anyone to use who lives within walking distance of the community garden.
The second space is the Garfield Sensory Garden — a vacant parcel that is owned by Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority, and has been activated by Black Street resident and homeowner. She took this project on in 2018 and, with grant funding and student volunteer groups, turned it into a sensory garden complete with murals from local artists, a fire-pit and plenty of seating. On a sunny day you’ll find students from the Environmental Charter School taking their recess or volunteers dropping by to care for the space.
As if this wasn’t enough, the third space is part dog park and part grassy retreat with shade, complete with small slides and features for kids. This street is full of surprises that show the attention and care that the neighborhood has. We think you’ll appreciate the thoughtful amenities that the neighborhood has created.
All of the homes are designed to the meet the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready standards. This means that the homes feature the following features
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