Credit: Rion Rizzo/Creative Sources Photography

Merit Winner: Green

Location: New Orleans
Developer: Columbia Residential
Builder: Block Builders
Architect: JHP Architecture/Urban Design
Opened: April 2014
Number of units: 120
Rents: Vary based on resident income

After Mother Nature obliterated New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Columbia Residential and JHP Architecture wanted to nourish the environment with eco-friendly development as the city rebuilt its housing stock. That sentiment, and the desire to provide homes for displaced seniors, drove Heritage Senior Residences at Columbia Parc.

The new, 120-unit, mixed-income community at the former St. Bernard public housing site is LEED for Homes Platinum certified and features a 67 kW solar electric system, motion sensors in corridors for energy conservation, HVAC energy-recovery systems, programmable thermostats, drought-­tolerant landscaping, and low-flow fixtures.

Other green building amenities include close proximity to public transit and a bike path—the latter just blocks away.

The project was made possible with funding from both private and public sources. Money from private entities covered 50 percent of the project’s costs, while the local housing authority and the state housing finance agency combined with FEMA and federal housing funds to pay for the remaining half. The development targets seniors who earn 80 percent or less of the area median income.