It’s easy with someone with financial freedom to commission the ultimate sustainable house, but efficient design won’t have a significant effect until everyone can take advantage of it.
Fairmont Avenue Townhomes is a low-income housing project by Hefferlin + Kronenberg Architects (via Jetson Green) for the Chattanooga, Tennesse, housing authority. The sustainable housing complies with Enterprise Green Communities Criteria, and has a LEED Platinum Certification for Homes.
The project consists of 18 units, all two-story homes organized into buildings of four units each. They were placed in such a way as to take maximum advantage of passive solar heating and cooling.
While a hill to south prevented designers from placing solar panels on the roofs of some buildings, the site still features 189 panels, enough to provide 10 percent of the necessary power. It’s actually sold back to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), which includes it in the Green Power Program.
The roofing itself is high albedo, standing seam metal made with 25-percent recycled content. It’s considered more durable than other materials, and is colored light grey to deflect heat.
This project should help extend the benefits of sustainable housing to more people, and perhaps provide a model for how similar structures can be built in other cities.