Innovation That Matters

The housing is sustainable and made for the homeless | Photo source Paul Vu and Iwan Baan

Sustainable housing for the homeless

Architecture & Design

A project in Los Angeles is extending sustainable building techniques to public housing

Spotted: We often think of innovations in energy-efficient housing as being driven by big companies or wealthy individuals. But in Los Angeles, a project is developing energy-efficient housing for the homeless. 

Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA) were commissioned by Clifford Beers Housing to design a supportive housing project that would serve veterans, homeless people and low-income households. The project incorporates energy-efficient elements such as solar-powered hot water, electric vehicle charging, bike parking and the use of natural lighting and ventilation. The project, MLK1101 Supportive Housing, sits on a previously disused lot and consists of an L-shaped, four-story building and a second building with shared facilities.

The main building has solar panels on the roof, while the second has a green roof. An outdoor garden is planted with drought-tolerant plants, and fruit and vegetables are grown in raised beds. The project has been awarded an LEED Gold certification (a green building standard) for its energy-efficiency.

According to LOHA, the L-shape was chosen to allow every unit to “receive sunlight and cross ventilation, reducing the need for heating, cooling, and artificial light, and allowing for the inclusion of an elevated green patio for residents to relax and socialise away from the noise of the street.”  In its design, the company also prioritised “social equity, health, and well-being of residents over isolation”.

At Springwise, we are experts in spotting innovations in housing design that improve energy-efficiency. Projects highlighted recently include pre-fab homes on stilts, and sustainable buildings made from shipping containers.



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