Self Help partners with architects to fight climate change


Visalia plays a key role in the competition. The AIACA announced its partnership with Self Help Enterprises to develop a design challenge to create affordable housing for farm workers in the Central Valley of California. Up to $ 25,000 in prizes, is awarded by a jury of international experts.

“Self Help Enterprises is thrilled to enter the Architecture at Zero 2021-2022 competition and receive new ideas, thoughts and concepts that can be applied to Visalia and the surrounding San Joaquin Valley,” said Betsy McGovern, Program Director of real estate development. “There is still a huge demand for housing for agricultural workers, and this is a unique opportunity to integrate decarbonization and climate resilience with an equity lens. “

The competition strives to generate innovative new design ideas for low-carbon buildings that meet equity and resilience and help meet California’s ambitious energy goals.

“The American Institute of Architects of California is delighted to collaborate on this important initiative that affirms the role of architects in efforts to use design to reduce climate change,” said Brett Dougherty, AIA, President of AIACA .

Climate change has created dangerous circumstances for residents and industries in Tulare County and the Central Valley. Drought created dry conditions in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, making parts of the ridge line ripe for massive forest fires. Drought is also restricting surface water for farmers who cannot depend on groundwater. This forced some producers to make the decision to fallow hundreds of acres of farmland.

The recent heat waves in June and July have forced residents to stay in their homes forever. But residents without air conditioning units ended up with only swamp fans and coolers to bring some semblance of cool air into their homes.

Applications for the competition will be submitted to a jury of international experts, including: Paul Torcellini, Senior Engineer, National Laboratory for Renewable Energies; Allison Williams, FAIA; AGWms_studio; Lance Collins, AIA, director at Partner Energy; and Mary Ann Lazarus, FAIA, Cameron MacAllister Group. To learn more, visit

This program is funded by California Public Utilities Customers and administered by Southern California Edison under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. Cosponsors include: Pacific Gas and Electric Company; San Diego Gas & Electric Company and Southern California Gas Company.

Other sponsors include: California Energy Commission, US Green Building Council, Central California, and the International Building Performance Simulation Association.


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