Philadelphia just gave the go-ahead for a large mixed-use multi-family housing project that is urban friendly and energy frugal. Conceived by design/build group Onion Flats, The Ridge’ will be the largest Passive House project in the region – and perhaps the country – meaning that the residences will use 90% less energy than standard apartments. The proposal will also be Net Zero Energy and will take advantage of solar technologies to supplement its already low energy demands. Alternative transportation will be encouraged by providing covered bike parking, Zipcars, and reducing parking spaces. Vegetated roofs and greenscape will frame the plentiful public spaces within, encouraging community interaction.
The project was a finalist in a redevelopment plan for the Rivage site in East Falls, and after overwhelming public support and Onion Flats’ successful history of providing high-quality sustainable design in the city, the choice seemed obvious. The exciting project will be able to weave together multiple positive attributes into one cohesive plan.
From the quality of living standpoint, the project achieves true urban renewal by creating a series of walkways above and paths below to extend the compact 126 living spaces to the out-of-doors. The green spaces and paths will serve as a buffer to the busy streets and they will roll up to the storefronts provided in the proposal. On the other side will be a trail to the river and city bike paths.
The buildings themselves will be built to Passive House standards. The super efficient envelopes will virtually eliminate the need for heating and cooling, and by taking advantage of scale and cost-saving in equipment the project’s budget will not take a hit. Add a large solar electric system and 100% on-site storm water retention and the project will be close to zero environmental impact.
After plans are finalized and approval for height and other variances ground will be broken in 2013 with estimated completion in spring of 2014.