We at Inhabitat love to focus on projects that are not only sustainable but that also make a difference in the lives of their inhabitants. With a sluggish economy that has left millions of people unemployed, the need for high-quality low-income housing is greater than ever. In recent years, organizations with missions to help support and provide housing for those with low incomes have begun to take a serious interest in sustainable design. Green certification programs are helping these low-income housing projects to be sustainable and energy efficient, which helps keep operating costs low in the long run. Read on to view our top 6 green supportive and low-income housing projects across the US!
Los Angeles-based Tighe Architecture, run by Sci-Arc trained architect Patrick Tighe, celebrates low-income housing for residents in West Hollywood with the creation of the Sierra Bonita Apartments. The 42-unit low-income affordable housing project was developed by the West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation for those with special needs. The development was a pilot project for WeHo’s Green Building Ordinance (WeHo standing for West Hollywood). The project included a solar electric panel system integrated into the façade and roof. The five-story mixed-use project is a great example of stylish and sustainable design being used to help those populations that rarely receive such architectural treatment.
Wakeland Housing & Development Corporation developed the first LEED Platinum, 100% solar-powered low-income housing complex in San Diego. This state-of-the-art development located in Chula Vista achieved LEED certification with natural ventilation, tankless water heaters, Energy Star appliances, and low-flow water fixtures. The complex was designed on the site of what used to be a vacant motel, which contributed to the neighborhood’s decline. Now this “recycled” property is helping to “green-up” the neighborhood and all the residents of Chula Vista. It is a great case-study development.
Many people would probably be surprised to learn that this ultra-modern building is a low-income housing development for the Market + Octavia Neighborhood in San Francisco. David Baker + Partners helped San Francisco-based Community Housing Partnerships to help achieve its mission to serve those that were formerly homeless. The Richardson Apartments were also designed to meet the guidelines of the Build It Green GreenPoint Rated and Green Communities.
Devine Legacy on Central is a new 65-unit affordable housing community for working families looking for housing along Phoenix’s Metro Light Rail Line. Perlman Design Group and Pyatok Architects combined efforts to design this 70,000-square-foot, mixed-income project for non-profit service provider Native American Connections. Devine Legacy is a LEED Platinum project in progress and incorporates multiple sustainable features into the urban context. The units reduced their dependency on air-conditioning by incorporating natural cross-ventilation, vertical stack ventilation, and sunscreens in all the units. Devine Legacy’s energy savings, water usage savings, and its use of sustainable materials make this project a great “green” example for the Phoenix area.
Brooks + Scarpa designed this mixed-use, 46-unit, affordable housing project in downtown Santa Monica to help the homeless and mentally disabled populations receive support services close to home. The award-winning building’s exterior envelope was designed to be light-hearted but striking enough to make an architectural statement. The exterior envelope was also designed to have R21 batt insulation in the walls, R30 in the roof, and double-glazed windows in order to increase the energy efficiency of the building. Step Up on 5th was designed to be LEED Gold Certified and includes sustainable design strategies such as solar heating/cooling, natural ventilation, maximized day lighting, material conservation and recycling, water-saving plumbing fixtures and energy efficient lighting fixtures. This building is a welcomed addition to the ever-progressive streets of Santa Monica.
- Image © Tim Griffith
High-density, low-rise workforce housing in Los Angeles is being redefined by developments like Daly Genik’s Tahiti Housing Complex. These units help families to live in the extraordinarily unaffordable Westside of Los Angeles, and they provide housing with architectural ingenuity. Daly Genik’s Tahiti Housing Complex is designed to LEED standards and features natural ventilation, daylighting, and outdoor spaces which maximize green open space.