Located just blocks from Santa Fe’s historic plaza, Villa Alegre is proud to offer its first 111 affordable units that have earned the LEED for Homes Platinum certification. These units are part of phases 1 and 2 of construction and offer beautiful apartment homes as well as homes for seniors complete with an on-site Service Coordinator and a professional management team.
Developed by the Santa Fe Civic Housing Authority, Villa Alegre reflects the city’s commitment to creating beautiful homes and luxury living experiences while lessening the carbon footprint during construction and beyond.
Breaking ground in June 2010, this project received the highest LEED rating, Platinum, in November 2011. Santa Fe Civic Housing Authority collaborated with Pavilion Construction to create 44 one and two-story buildings that have from 2 to 6 units in each building.
The first phase of the project consisted of 60 family units and a community center. Phase 2 incorporated 50 senior housing units into the community, one caretaker’s unit and another community center.
Green Insight worked extensively with the developer and contractor on the following aspects of the project
- Enterprise Green Communities
- LEED for Homes credit verification
- Testing and QAD review during the construction phase
- Energy efficiency recommendations
- Building material assessments
- Review of construction documents
- Specifications and project submittals
“LEED gave us better plans, better processes, and better quality at minimal additional costs to the project.”
– Ed Romero, Executive Director of the Santa Fe Civic Housing Authority
All stakeholders had a common goal: to create a sustainable building project with the smallest possible environmental footprint. However, not all stakeholders had the same thoughts when it came to how to achieve this level of sustainability.
Given Santa Fe’s climate as a high desert environment with less than 12 inches of rain a year, it was determined that our focus needed to be on energy and water efficiency. This focus would allow us to not only make the best use of the grant funding that was obtained, but it would help us reach our goals the best.
Gaining community support for this project was vital to the success of the project overall. The City of Santa Fe requires a neighborhood meeting when a development of this magnitude is proposed in its city limits. We really wanted to listen to the community members, and we conducted several meetings beyond the city’s requirements.
Our team worked with the project team to advise them on how to achieve their green building goals, facilitating design charrettes and oversight meetings that included the Mayor of Santa Fe, City Council Members, and City Employees among other stakeholders.
To achieve our goals of focusing on energy efficiency, the project relied heavily on reducing energy by incorporating a geothermal exchange system with ground source heat pumps and a 240-kilowatt photovoltaic system. Energy efficiency is also achieved through ENERGY STAR windows, high-efficiency lighting fixtures, compact fluorescent bulbs, and high-density blown insulation.
All units in the project achieved a 32 or better Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index score and will be ENERGY STAR qualified thanks to incorporating energy-saving technologies such as those listed above as well as instantaneous water heaters, programmable thermostats, high-efficiency furnaces, and air conditioners and mechanical ventilation that enhance indoor air quality.
The Finished Product
All of the focus on energy and water efficiency during construction resulted in the desirable Platinum LEED for Homes certification as well as qualifying for the New Mexico Sustainable Building Tax Credit in Phase 1 and Phase 2 totaling more than $800,000 combined. Additionally, most of Villa Alegre’s units exceeded the 2030 challenge.
The Villa Alegre has not only rehabilitated that area of downtown Santa Fe, but thanks to all green initiatives used in design and construction, all renters are utility bill free.
According to Ed Romero, Executive Director of the Santa Fe Civic Housing Authority, “LEED gave us better plans, better processes, and better quality at minimal additional costs to the project.”
Learn more in our Villa Alegre case study.