Affordable housing renovation

To address rising operating costs, this 94-unit affordable housing co-op underwent a major green facelift. Energy efficiency and accessibility improvements were focal points of this HUD-financed renovation. Resident families and seniors remained in place during the project thanks to careful design and construction phasing.

As utility and maintenance costs rose sharply, this 34-year-old complex of apartments and townhomes began to exceed its fixed operating budget. So it sought funding for energy efficiency improvements that would decrease costs while increasing tenant comfort.

Energy upgrades included replacing the heating systems and water heaters with new energy efficient models. All windows, appliances, and kitchen and bath fans are now ENERGY STAR rated. The complex was re-sided using durable cement siding that helps prevent energy loss. Low-mercury fluorescent bulbs replaced incandescent lighting. On the grounds, retaining walls and hydroseeding increased stormwater retention, while new native plants and low-water irrigation systems reduced water demand.

Given the large population of senior and child residents, the Unity Homes project team paid special attention to indoor air quality. They selected paints, sealants, and adhesives that contain low or no VOCs, gases known to have both short- and long-term health impacts.

The resident board of directors served as the client for input and approval of design concepts, ensuring that the renovation enhanced the complex’s architectural character while remaining true to the original design intent. Accessibility improvements to the manager’s office, communal building, and parking areas help residents traverse the site’s exceptionally steep terrain.