Many people still think of green building as purely the purview of the wealthy, since it is true that non-toxic and natural materials can cost a little more upfront (10-20% is common). And that's not counting the sizable sums that are traditionally required to put up solar panels or a geothermal heat pump.
However, the ironic thing about this situation is that less fortunate people are typically the ones who can stand to benefit most from green building, through improved indoor air quality and substantially lower utility payments. That's something Brad Pitt recognized when he launched his pioneering project with Global Green to rebuild parts of New Orleans' battered Lower 9th Ward with affordable green housing.
By the end of the month, New York's historic Harlem neighborhood is slated to become home to an affordable green development, known as the David and Joyce Dinkins Gardens. The project is a joint effort of Jonathan Rose Companies and the nonprofit Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI).
Of the building's 85 apartments, 26 are said to be designated for young people coming out of foster care, while the remaining units are supposed to be rented to low-income households (people defined as earning less than 60% of area median income). The center will also include classroom space for job training.
What makes David and Joyce Dinkins Gardens green? Energy Star-rated appliances and lighting, passive sun shading, low-VOC paints and materials, heavy-duty ventilation, community garden, a partial green roof and rainwater recycling.
Sounds like a nice place to come home to.
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