For San Francisco-based BRIDGE Housing Corp., not every community is an exercise in been-there, done-that proven design and construction techniques of affordable housing. Although BRIDGE incorporates green aspects into all of its communities, there are times when a stretch assignment comes along to broaden the firm’s entire sustainable development repertoire. For proof, look no further than the maintenance staff at Ironhorse at Central Station.
“Maintenance professionals are indoctrinated that they must keep soil and dirt and plant matter off the tops of buildings,” says BRIDGE CEO Cynthia Parker of the paradigm shift necessary for the Ironhorse roof alone, which includes not only a vegetated “green roof” but a 153-kilowatt photovoltaic solar array to power all common areas.
Ironhorse, which achieved a BRIDGE record of 146 points (nearly three times the required amount) to qualify for Oakland, Calif.-based Build It Green’s GreenPoint standard, also features 20 percent slag cement construction, 100 percent recycled-content cabinetry, dedicated trash and recycling chutes for the community’s 99 units, Energy Star appliances, vegetated swales for rainwater runoff treatment, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and an irrigation system that receives weather data in real time.
Best of all, BRIDGE has incorporated all of the building’s green features into a “Green Home Care Guide” distributed at move-in to educate residents on the community’s green features as well as encourage better energy and resource conservation within the unit. “You can’t just put green features in a building and then walk away from it; you have to consistently put thought behind those features for the residents,” says Parker, who adds that BRIDGE continues to learn from Ironhorse’s innovative sustainability features.
“We are trying new things we have not tried before, things we want to learn from and incorporate into future projects as they prove to be worthwhile.”