Silicon Valley Community is Exceptionally Green and Affordable
A joint venture took on the task of converting an older community into an affordable community fit to rival market-rate housing in design and amenities while achieving the highest USGBC LEED rating.
By Andie Lowenstein, Associate Editor
Mountain View, Calif.—Silicon Valley is booming with new high-tech start-ups, attracting a flood of new employees. However, there’s still a big lack of access to affordable housing in the area for these individuals.
ROEM Corporation and Eden Housing, in partnership with the City of Mountain View, took on the task of converting an older community into a community fit to rival market-rate housing in design and amenities while achieving the highest USGBC LEED rating, LEED-H Platinum Certification.
Along with the project’s designer, national award-winning firm KTGY Architecture + Planning, achieving LEED certification was a top priority for ROEM Corporation from the start of the project. With this vision set in the initial phase, Studio 819 passed Title-24 standards by 32 percent with features that optimized energy performance through insulation, windows, water heating, mechanical, lighting and appliances.
Studio 819 was awarded the highest amount of points for location and linkages. The property is ideally situated in downtown Mountain View.
“This central location affords residents short walking distance to many local amenities, such as public transportation, shopping, and other valuable neighborhood resources,” said Robert Emami, CEO and president of ROEM Corporation. “Studio 819 embodies ROEM’s long standing commitment to sustainability in a way that benefits the residents and the surrounding community.”
The property’s large rooftop solar PV system, consisting of 120 solar panels, will help offset some of the energy load and provide a great amount of energy to the project. Also, the hot water State Ultra Force water heaters are 96 percent efficient and Energy Star labeled.
Considering the drought-stricken conditions of California, the landscaping at Studio 819 highlights a careful selection of environmentally-sensitive plants with 45 percent of them being drought tolerant. No invasive plants or turf were used onsite. Storm water runoff has been engineered to flow directly from the roof into the landscaping with the capacity of holding storm water from a 10-year storm. This limits the amount of water that flows off-site into the public storm system. With Studio 819 classified as a very high-density community, this saves open spaces in the area and allows residents to congregate closer to walkable community resources.
To achieve water efficiency, a highly specialized irrigation system designed to meet the needs of a drought tolerant region were installed. The hydro-zoned, centrally-controlled irrigation system will provide water to only the areas that need it while also being weather sensitive. It automatically adjusts the amount of water delivered based on local conditions. Inside the units, low-water consumption interior fixtures were installed.
A joint effort throughout the build-out of the project was to use as much locally sourced or recycled material as possible. All framing lumber was from locally-sourced forests within 500 miles of the project site. The project used a locally-sourced slab for the on-grade foundation, which included a cement mix made of 25 percent fly ash, cutting down the amount of cement needed for the project. Also, locally-sourced insulation made from 65 percent recycled materials and low VOCs – paints, adhesives, flooring and insulation – were used throughout the project. The emphasis on using environmentally friendly materials in the construction of Studio 819 allows the construction team to recycle 84 percent of the construction waste.
ROEM made a long-standing commitment to building smarter and better by building greener. Studio 819 demonstrates this commitment and is one of the many projects in ROEM’s portfolio that acieved this high standard.
“KTGY is proud to add another LEED Platinum certified project, our third with ROEM, to our portfolio,” said Keith Labus, AIA, LEED AP and principal at KTGY. “Studio 819 is an example of both our companies’ continuing commitment to building sustainable communities.”