Building Green For the Low-Income

New green building projects aimed at low-income residents are popping up across the country, and federal stimulus money is helping.
February 25, 2009, 5am PST | Nate Berg
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"Intervale Green doesn't have the glass walls, waterless urinals or ice batteries that the BoA Tower boasts. No one would describe Intervale as cutting edge, but it is green where it counts - with more energy efficient appliances, better window insulation and energy efficient fluorescent lights, all of which will enable its low-income residents to save real money on their utility bills. 'Residents will be paying 30% less for their utilities than in an ordinary building,' says Nancy Biberman founder and president of WHEDCo, during a recent tour of Intervale. 'For them, going green is a survivability issue. It's important for the environment, but it's really important for their pocketbooks.'"

"Intervale is one of a number of new and planned green, low-income housing projects around the country - an enterprise for which the federal stimulus package will include increased funding (it will also provide money for improving the energy efficiency of existing homes). In Miami, the nonprofit Carrfour Supportive Housing is building the 145-unit Verde Gardens Apartment building; the project will use green modular wall systems and aim for LEED certification. In Chicago, the Resurrection Homes project offers affordable green housing, and the soon to be completed Victory Centre will include green apartments for low-income seniors. And nationwide, the nonprofit Enterprise Communities Partners has helped create or preserve more than 320 inexpensive green housing developments, from Portland to Jacksonville. The building momentum shows that you don't have to be rich to go green - which is often accused of being an elitist concern."

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Published on Tuesday, February 17, 2009 in Time
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