Four Critical Trends in Green Affordable Housing

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Learning Outcomes

  • Understand four trends that influence how green strategies are integrated into affordable housing policy and design.
  • Identify green building measures that provide the greatest benefit to residents.
  • Learn how a focus on climate is changing the role of housing as a community resilience asset.

More Course Details

The rapid shift to all-electric design is disrupting affordable housing. It has implications for design, operations, and tenants’ utility costs. Because electricity is often more expensive than natural gas, a shift to electric systems to reduce GHG emissions may result in higher costs. Other challenges are designing affordable housing developments to serve as resilience hubs and growing expectations to include batteries for energy storage.

While these disruptors and challenges change fundamental project design parameters, they also create ways for developments to serve as community assets.

Consider major trends outlined in the Blueprint for Greening Affordable Housing (Island Press, 2020) that relate to climate, equity, health, and resilience. Sample case studies emphasize key points and illustrate innovative project design.

Affordable housing is a fundamental building block of community equity. Green strategies can be integrated into housing developments of all types and sizes, depending on community needs and available financing. Tangible outcomes include fewer GHG emissions, a more stable electric grid, and a more resilient community.