RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. – Desert Meadows, an 80-unit affordable apartment community in Indio, was awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for achievement in green homebuilding and design.
Desert Meadows is the first residential building in Indio to earn LEED certification of any level, meeting rigorous standards for efficiency and low environmental impact.
National CORE, working closely with the County of Riverside and the Riverside County Housing Authority, transformed a blighted mobile home park into a full-service, state-of-the-art two- and three-bedroom community in Indio.
“The environmental stewardship that this project represents is truly remarkable, and a significant priority for us as one of the largest national nonprofit developers of affordable housing,” said Steve PonTell, chief executive officer for Rancho Cucamonga-based National CORE. “There are only a few developers in the country that could have built a project like this.”
Designed with the goal of a 75 percent reduction in water use, Desert Meadows features drought tolerant, native desert plants and a drip irrigation system to reduce evaporation. Irrigation controllers also have automatic rain sensor override capabilities. All units include low flow shower heads, on-demand gas fired hot water heaters and 1.5 GPF dual flush toilets to reduce water consumption.
Photovoltaic panels mounted on the roof provide 30 percent of the community’s common area electricity requirements by solar power. Roof sheeting with reflective barrier systems, 2-by-6 exterior walls with R-19 insulation, ceilings with R-38 insulation, and triple glazed, low emissivity windows all serve to reduce energy usage and cost by 25 percent over California’s Title-24 energy efficiency standards.
Desert Meadows was constructed using traditional materials found in the desert, including stucco and masonry, to extend the life cycle of the buildings. In the unit interiors, carpeting, paint and cabinets are all low VOC (volatile organic compounds), chosen to produce a high indoor air quality.
Other “green” features include the installation of Energy Star qualified appliances in all units and an onsite recycling program.
“This modern, well designed apartment community is one that families will be proud to live in for years to come,” said Riverside County Supervisor John J. Benoit. “Desert Meadows is a vast improvement over the blighted site it replaced and is an excellent example of the partnerships that we develop to revitalize the community and address the housing needs of Coachella Valley residents.”
Desert Meadows, at 44071 Clinton St., features 50 two-bedroom units and 30 three-bedroom units, all designated for families making less than 40 percent of the area’s median income. Amenities include a community center, fitness center, computer room, playground and tot lot area, swimming pool and learning facility.
National CORE’s subsidiary Hope through Housing provides onsite preschool and afterschool programming for children and youth living on the property.
“National CORE is about serving and transforming lives and communities, and this partnership with the County of Riverside is a great example of entities working together to make that happen,” said PonTell. “The affordable housing crisis in our region and nationwide is very real, and this is a very real example of how to remedy it.”
Rancho Cucamonga-based National CORE, one of the largest national nonprofit developers of affordable housing, manages 8,800 units in California, Arkansas, Texas and Florida, and through its Hope through Housing subsidiary has provided more than 2 million hours in supportive services to enhance quality of life, including preschool, afterschool and senior wellness programs.
In addition to developing and managing affordable housing projects, CORE has emerged as a national voice on community revitalization. Southern California alone is 600,000 housing units short of meeting demand.
“The affordable-housing crisis in this country is about more than who can or cannot afford shelter,” said PonTell. “It has broad economic and social implications, and we’re working to make this the national priority it needs to be.”
The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit membership organization whose vision is a sustainable built environment within a generation. Since USGBC’s founding in 1993, USGBC has grown to more than 18,000 member companies and organizations and a comprehensive suite of LEED green building certification systems. Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations all sharing USGBC commitment to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. Visit www.usgbc.org for more information.
About LEED for Homes
LEED for Homes is a third-party certification system for building and designing high-performance green homes that are energy-and-resource-efficient and healthy for its occupants. Developed and administered by USGBC, LEED for Homes awards points to projects in eight categories of environmental performance: Innovation & Design Process, Location & Linkages, Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, and Awareness & Education. To date, more than 18,000 units have achieved certification with LEED for Homes program, and over 75,000 have registered and are in process. For more information, visit www.usgbc.org/homes.
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