Affordable Housing Goes Green in Georgia

The Northwest Georgia Housing Authority (NWGHA) has been actively helping Georgia’s residents to find safe and affordable housing for sixty years and in the past few years it has progressed into a leader in quality housing, as well.

NWGHA is composed of eleven public housing communities.

They recently worked with Lord, Aeck & Sargent (LAS) Architecture creating 10 public-housing, energy-efficient, green apartments called Village Green in Rome, Georgia.

These 10 homes consist of eight three-bedroom and two two-bedroom apartments funded by a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which is participating in the Enterprise Green Communities Program.

This program is the first green national program focused entirely on affordable housing. Now, in 2012 it is offering a certificate achievable online. Its requirements are as follows:

Eligibility

  • Open to all entities engaged in the development of affordable housing. Enterprise defines affordable housing as projects serving residents at or below 60% AMI for rental projects and at or below 80% AMI for for-sale projects. For NSP-funded projects, this definition extends to 120% AMI.
  • Projects must designate a minimum of 80% of the units for affordable housing (i.e., no more than 20% can be market-rate housing).
  • Projects must designate a minimum of 80% of the square footage of conditioned space for residential use (i.e., no more than 20% can be commercial or common space).

Certification Requirements

  • All projects must apply online during before construction starts.
  • All projects must achieve compliance with the mandatory measures applicable to their construction type as found in the 2011 Enterprise Green Communities Criteria.
  • New construction projects must achieve an additional 35 optional points.
  • Substantial and moderate rehab projects must achieve an additional 30 optional points.

Village Green met these requirements by using sustainable attributes such as a rainwater harvest system, roof-mounted photovoltaic panels and recycled clay tile roofing.

According to LAS project manager, Jay Silverman, Village Green is not so much about acquiring a certification, such as LEED but more about,

“A way to improve the quality and livability of the apartment homes and to lower operating costs for the residents and clients while staying within budget.”

Ten homes may not seem like the largest step, but every home that is designed with a greener tomorrow in mind is a better place to live and these are remarkable in that they are offered to everyone in the form of affordable housing.

Resources: Enterprise Community, Pitch Engine, Lord Aeck and Sargent and NWGHA


About the Author

Jennifer is originally from Colorado and has recently moved back from Michigan. She is finishing up her Master’s degree in Architecture. She is currently focusing on urban planning and sustainable design and hopes to gain employment at a design firm specializing in these areas. Jennifer also has writing experience serving as an editor for her school newspaper and college magazine. Jennifer has two cats named Prada and Dior-aptly named after her shoe obsession. You can follow Jennifer on twitter @jenshock81.
  • Nice article, Jennifer. Look us up when you’re out.
    -Jim