Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Two Case Studies: Developing Green Housing and Infrastructure

The Home Depot Foundation is one of many organizations working to foster green design and innovation to make homes healthier and more affordable for families across the U.S. In 2007, the Foundation made a long-term commitment to building strong and healthy communities through its Affordable Housing Built Responsibly grant program – pledging to invest $400 million to build and rehabilitate100,000 affordable homes and to plant and restore three million trees in ten years. Thus far, the organization has contributed to the development of 27,000 homes nationwide and helped plant some 500,000 trees using $90 million.

Additionally, to support and share efforts related to the organization’s Sustainable Cities Institute, the Foundation has created a Web site featuring best practice information on a number of issues related to sustainability – including green building, land use and transportation, economic development, water use, and more. This Web site also includes several places to interact with others to brainstorm new ideas for making communities more sustainable and energy-efficient.

Green, Affordable Housing
One of the many case studies featured on the site examines the economic benefits of green, affordable housing from the perspectives of both the developer and the occupant. Located in Poway, CA, Solara is a multi-family, affordable housing development designed and constructed with substantial sustainability components. The energy self-sufficient housing provides healthy, indoor living environments within walking distance of employment and community services opportunities. The managers of the rental housing complex also provide residents with life assistance classes, such as financial health. To learn more about this project, please View Complete Case Study.

Green Infrastructure and Urban Forestry
The site also includes information about green infrastructure as a whole, highlighting the concept of urban forestry in particular. For example, one of the case studies focuses on the preservation of trees in Atlanta, GA. The “State of Our Urban Forests” report by American Forests recommends 40 percent tree cover for a healthy city, yet Atlanta has a tree canopy of only 27 percent. Trees Atlanta, a private, non-profit, seeks to restore Atlanta’s urban forest by planting and maintaining thousands of trees. Through partnerships with city agencies, local conservation groups, small business owners, neighborhood organizations, large corporations, and utilities, Trees Atlanta’s outreach efforts reach a large segment of the community. To learn more about the impact of this initiative, please View the Complete Case Study.

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