One multifamily developer has proven itself an anomaly, showcasing that sustainability standards can exist beyond those typically seen in single-family custom homes.
Lofts on Landis, a 33-unit community from Wakeland Housing and Development, joined nine other projects on the San Diego Green Building Council’s (USGBC) seventh annual Green Homes Tour. The tour, which took place on Saturday, November 12, features homes all throughout the San Diego county—including Casa Aguila, previously featured in TecHome Builder for being San Diego’s first certified “Passive house.”
Wakeland’s project stands out in USGBC’s event as a sustainable multifamily development, as tours such as this often only feature single-family homes. David Hetherington, Wakeland’s project manager for Lofts on Landis, calls the inclusion “a great honor” and believes this community will serve as an excellent example for other developers to follow.
“By incorporating sustainability into our projects, it benefits a larger movement to reduce carbon footprints and other impacts of development,” says Hetherington.
A City Collaboration
Wakeland Housing and Development collaborated closely with the city of Chula Vista on this project, financially and through all elements of the development process.
“The city of Chula Vista has always been a leader in sustainability,” says Hetherington.
First step in creating Lofts on Landis was finding a building site, which Wakeland discovered in the form of a previously developed, high density, infill location. Hetherington states that the ideal nature of this location was based upon its proximity to employment opportunities, mass transportation, local parks, city hall and shopping amenities.
The next step was transforming this site into a fully sustainable, LEED Platinum multifamily development.
Sustainable “Whole Systems” Approach
Lofts on Landis features the typical array of technologies one would expect from a sustainable development. It features a PV solar system that offsets 25 percent of the electric load from the community’s common areas and tenant units, as well as a solar thermal system that offsets the development’s hot water loads.
There are Energy Star appliances throughout the units and HVAC systems designed to lower utility costs for the residents and create a healthy indoor environment for all. What makes the project truly unique in its sustainability is the “whole systems” integrated approach that Hetherington says was integral from the development’s earliest stages.
“Everything from concept to design and ultimately to the development process—all of that was viewed through an integrated lens from day one,” he says.
“That not only made the project very efficient, but it also reduced the cost to make it a sustainable development, because we were able to design in the efficiencies at a very early stage when it was inexpensive to do so.”
On the tour itself, Hetherington says that “folks came to learn about sustainability” and that’s what initially attracted them to the event.
More so, he believes what kept attendees engaged with Lofts on Landis was how Wakeland’s sustainability practices and whole systems approach created an affordable housing model worth mirroring.
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