Blending Affordable Housing with Green Building

Community Housing Partners (CHPC) and the Town of Blacksburg have been pro-active in increasing environmental consciousness in the New River Valley.

For example, CHPC started the first local chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council and have worked with town officials to identify and adopt achievable environmental development goals.

Last August, the town celebrated its first annual Environmental Awareness Week, during which officials received a $95,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Resource Conservation Challenge Grant. The grant will fund Sustainable Blacksburg, a collaborative partnership with citizen groups, businesses, government, academic institutions and non-profits to implement waste reduction programs.

EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Donald S. Welsh also recognized the Town of Blacksburg for being the first municipality in the country to enroll in the EPA’s voluntary National Partnership for Environmental Priorities.

As part of Environmental Awareness Week, the town featured CHPC’s Roanoke-Lee Street Duplex project as an example of blending affordable housing with green building.

“Not only is there a need to provide affordable housing to the New River Valley, but there is also a need to provide housing that promotes a healthy environment and conserves energy and natural resources,” said Janaka Casper, CHPC President and CEO.

The Roanoke-Lee Street Duplex project demonstrates responsible, environmental development because each unit is a healthier, higher-performing home. Not only do low- to moderate-wealth residents have access to down payment assistance and below market-rate financing, but they also benefit by spending less of their limited income on energy and transportation costs, while living in an environment that promotes their health and well-being.

The town also featured a tour of the Tekoa Boys’ Campus, another example of CHPC’s green building initiative.

This project is a group home for at-risk boys that can house and educate up to 20 youth. This facility helps its residents overcome their psychological, academic and social challenges, while serving as a model for energy efficiency, social sustainability and environmental stewardship. The building is designed to meet LEED® (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) standards in green building and sustainable design.

In both projects, CHPC has created healthy living and work environments by “going green” to build affordable housing opportunities. Through strong local partnerships, CHPC will continue these efforts to further our mission.