Building Net Positive in Northeast KC

A “Net Positive Home” aspires to be more than just about energy efficiency, but rather about creating a sustainable home that gives something back to its occupants and neighbors. The Net Positive Studio at Kansas State University joined Mattie Rhodes Center to design and build a Net Positive Home in 2018-19, conducting neighborhood research, meeting with community leaders, and proposing a design that could achieve net zero energy with a subsidized cost of $125k for qualified homebuyers via HUD funding. Utilizing advanced energy analysis and BIM modeling, the studio developed a holistic design strategy that guided prefabrication of the home at KSU in 2019. The 3 bedroom, 1.5-bath prototype home was designed for the narrow lots of Northeast Kansas City, integrating a well-appointed program into a package of only 1033 ft2, capable of achieving net zero with a modest 3.4 kW photovoltaic array. Emerging Builders, a non-profit providing construction training to underrepresented groups, joined the collaboration in 2020 to assemble the prefab components and complete the home with construction trainees. Mattie Rhodes, the Net Positive Studio, and Emerging Builders continue their work on new affordable, sustainable homes for the neighborhood – projects that both anticipated the urgent demand for affordable housing, while overcoming today’s construction obstacles through sustainable design, innovative construction, and the skills of tomorrow’s workforce.


Outsource Event | Vaccination & Mask Requirement
Building Net Positive in Northeast KC is a special event organized and presented by Kansas State University’s Net Positive Studio for 2022 KC Design Week!

We have selected each “outsource” presenter to deliver something new, something cutting-edge, something unforgettable, and something delightful to add to our schedule. KC Design Week appreciates KSU’s Net Positive Studio for their enthusiastic participation!

These events are presented FREE of charge, but advance registration is REQUIRED.

This event is following the covid protocols of the Mattie Rhodes Center and visitors will be required to have their temperature taken upon arrival and wear a mask at all times while you are in the building. 

Wednesday, April 27
11:00am - 1:00pm
11:00am Registration
11:15am Exhibition and Q&A
12:00pm Tour

Net Positive Studio

Started in 2018 under the direction of Associate Professor Michael Gibson, the Net Positive Studio is an architecture studio at Kansas State University that researches, develops, and demonstrates housing that confronts dual affordability and environmental crises our communities face today. Through rigorous design and a sensible approach to sustainability, the studio strives to create safe, high-quality, environmentally sensitive, and functional homes while demonstrating broad tenants of sustainability including energy, environmental conservation, economic tenability, and positive social and community impact. Featuring state-of-the-art design and analysis tools as well as prefab construction, the studio’s homes prove that sustainable housing can be and should be accessible to everyone.

Emerging Builders

Resulting from the significant underrepresentation of Women, Black, Indigenous and People of Color in the construction trades paired with a skilled labor shortage, Emerging Builders exists to provide the skills and opportunities that future construction leaders need to compete and win contracts in their communities in Kansas City.

Mattie Rhodes Center

Mattie Rhodes Center is a nonprofit agency celebrating it’s 127th year of serving the Greater Kansas City community. We are committed to building a stronger city by working toward the vision of living in a vibrant community where all individuals and families are healthy, safe and have the resources to thrive. Mattie Rhodes Center provides a holistic approach to individual and family well being through social services, behavioral health counseling and the arts.