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Enhancing the Affordability of Housing through Sustainability

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Success-story-smThroughout our website you will see a strong message about how green living can make good economic sense. Using fewer resources, like water, energy and fuel, means paying less on monthly utility bills. Running transit close housing can help to lower greenhouse gas emissions, but it also gives people a way to get to work. Encouraging local buying pumps profits into communities. Urban gardens can provide a source of income and can help alleviate hunger. It makes send that sustainability and affordable housing should go together.

Our city was one of the first in the nation to experience inspiring success with sustainable investments into economically challenged neighborhoods. The Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale has three noteworthy developments and now incorporates green building into all of its endeavors. Their Northwest Gardens is LEED Gold certified neighborhood. Dr. Kennedy Homes is a multi-family housing complex that achieved LEED Gold certification. Step-up is an innovative apprenticeship program which exposes at risk youth to sustainable construction practices.

Northwest Gardens (NWG) was built on an infill site in urban Fort Lauderdale located just west of downtown.  All of the 394 units are located in multifamily buildings, giving the community the kind of density that sustainable neighborhoods are founded upon.  The development has an open, gridded street network in compact blocks within walking distance to public transportation. It has energy efficient street lighting, community vegetable gardens, fruit trees, bioswales and pedestrian paths throughout the community. Each of the homes has energy and water efficient appliances and fixtures, low VOC paints, and locally built cabinetry of sustainably sourced wood.. Northwest Gardens was the first in the State of Florida and only the third in the United States to receive the LEED for Neighborhood Development plan certification.

Dr. Kennedy Homes is a multifamily housing complex located on the south side of Broward Boulevard at the entrance to the historic Sailboat Bend neighborhood.  This LEED Gold (for homes) housing complex is located on a former 1940s public housing site. Its 8.5 acres is home to 132 units in eight new buildings along with three renovated buildings with amenities such as a gym, library, meeting rooms and a handicapped accessible community garden.

Dr. Kennedy homes is a sustainable project in many ways.  The buildings take advantage of breezes that create natural ventilation and air movement. There are low energy-consuming ceiling fans, along with low VOC paints, adhesives and carpets, water conserving plumbing fixtures, pervious pavement to minimize storm-water run-off, individual unit thermal and lighting controls, outdoor lighting that minimizes light pollution to adjacent properties, Energy Star appliances and urea-formaldehyde free cabinetry. Locally supplied materials were used in the construction. The development received the 2013 LEEDership and Green Award for the best Midrise Residential project from the U.S. Green Building Coalition (USGBC) South Florida Chapter as well as a Community Appearance award from the City of Fort Lauderdale. 

Step-up is a two-year apprenticeship program focused on the craft and construction of sustainable cabinetry, as well as other green constructions learning opportunities. The program supplied the cabinetry for both Northwest Gardens and Kennedy Homes and operates a full workshop which now supplies to other builders.  Apprentices can even qualify to study for the prestigious LEED Green Associate exam and credentialing. 

Because of the success of initiatives like these, programs like our Neighborhood Stabilization Program and the Owner-occupied Rehabilitation Program, are now required to follow certain green building practices. We invite you to earn more about Fort Lauderdale's affordable housing initiatives.

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