On Thursday October 11th, as part of Design Philadelphia’s Festival, OHCD led a Green Affordable Housing Tour that showcased the diverse techniques and design used today in building environmentally friendly affordable homes. Participants were able to see visible elements such as green and blue roofs, permeable paving and solar panels and learn about less noticeable features such as efficient insulation and mechanical systems, which all reduce the impact of the homes on the environment as well as the ongoing cost for the resident.
The first stop on the tour included a visit to Connelly House, which provides critically needed, affordable housing to formerly homeless men and women. Developed by Project HOME, this LEED certified building also received the American Institute of Architects Philadelphia Community Design Award. Janet Stearns, Project HOME’s Director of Real Estate Development taught participants about the green features, including:
- a green roof
- highly insulated walls to improve thermal performance
- a rainwater collection system for irrigation and non-potable use
- high-efficiency mechanical systems and lighting
Mayor Nutter even stopped by to talk to about his Greenworks plan and his ambitious goal for Philadelphia to become “America’s greenest city.”
Driving through Chinatown and past Temple University, Katherine Gajewski, the director of the City’s Office of Sustainability, and Alex Dews, Policy and Program Manager, spoke to participants about other sustainable projects underway and more about the City’s Greenworks Plan.
Next, the group visited Sheridan Street Green Affordable Housing Development, which transformed blighted and vacant land into 13 environmentally friendly, modern homes in Eastern North Philadelphia. Developed by Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM), these homes feature green design and materials that lower costs for the homeowners while strengthening the neighborhood. Rose Gray, Vice President, Community & Economic Development, and Daryn Edwards, architect of ISA Architects, spoke about the unique design and showed everyone a sample home.
Sustainable highlights include:
• Solar hot water panels to provide water heating
• Green roofs to decrease heating and cooling costs and extend the life of the roofs
• Rain barrels and turf pavers to manage stormwater runoff
• Exterior material of fiber-cement board containing a high level of recycled content
Just a few blocks away, Rose spoke to the group at Paseo Verde, an under construction Transit-Oriented Develop-ment (TOD) that will feature housing, commercial space, and services. Antonio Fiol-Silva of WRT Architects joined the group to speak about this challenging space and impressive green design, including both green and blue roofs and photovoltaic solar panels. The team will seek a LEED for Homes and Neighborhood Development certification for the project.
The final stop was 1260 Housing Development Corporation’s Temple II Development. Located on North Gratz Street, Temple II is the largest gut rehabilitation in the United States to be certified LEED for Homes Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council.
David Hahn, Director of Construction for 1260 Housing Development Corporation was joined by an architect and a service provider, who answered the group’s questions about the challenges of rehabilitating older homes with sustainability in mind. Participants were also able to visit the interior of home belonging to a very kind resident.
Back at Connelly House, the group joined Project H.O.M.E. for an important ceremony recognizing the organization’s environmental citizenship. Project H.O.M.E. co-founder and chief financial officer Joan McConnon accepted the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) award for Connelly House, which is the first LEED-certified affordable housing development in Center City.
The tour was a great success and OHCD thanks all the hosts and participants.