El Camino Real Apartments Earns LEED for Homes Platinum Certification

The small village of Hatch, New Mexico has just under 2,000 residents. But every year they watch their numbers swell to over 30,000 for one big reason: The Hatch Chile.

Also known as the New Mexico Chile, these chiles find the perfect altitude, climate, and soil to grow in the Hatch Valley, located in the fertile Rio Grande River Valley. Tourists flock to Hatch to enjoy the many ways you can experience the vegetable in the small town fondly known as The Chile Capital of the World.

Something else Hatch can now boast of is the El Camino Real Apartments which stand as a testament that affordable housing can also have a lower than average environmental impact.

Project Details

With 60 total units and a community building, El Camino Real is designed to assist the agricultural workers who keep the Hatch Chile industry alive by offering income-based rent that fluctuates between the busy growing season and the off-season.

Because of its role as a low-income housing complex, El Camino Real utilized federal low-income housing tax credits. Because of this, the complex had to be designed and constructed to not only be 30% more energy-efficient but also achieve certification through LEED for Homes.

Green Insight worked alongside developer Thomas Development and contractor Cress Builders to assist them in achieving their green building goals. To do so, Green Insight worked with them on:

  • Project green goal facilitation
  • Identifying cost-effective design solutions before construction
  • LEED for Homes credit verification
  • Testing during construction
  • Energy modeling
  • Building materials assessment
  • Review of specifications, construction documents, and project submissions

Project Challenges

One of the biggest challenges the team faced was the location of the complex. Hatch sits on a floodplain and has been known to be overwhelmed by stormwater. The worst flood was in 2006, but many flooding episodes have cost millions of dollars in damage. Therefore the team had to find a solution by designing a project that would not only be safe during a flooding event but would also improve the surrounding area in the process.

Additionally, developers wanted to create a complex that would qualify for both the federal 45L tax credit for energy efficiency as well as New Mexico’s Sustainable Building Tax Credit. This would require significant efforts to design and construct a project that was not only safe but energy efficient.


To combat the challenge of stormwater damage, the design team found a way to minimize the damage that the project may receive in the event of flooding. They were able to do this while still maintaining enough space for the project in its entirety. The project also features a retention pond to catch water runoff from the hills above.

Green Insight worked with developers and builders in a variety of ways to make sure they met their energy efficiency goals for the project. Solutions included inspecting of wall, roof, and insulation systems to reduce the heating and cooling loads of each unit.

Fixtures in all units were also selected because of what they contributed to the energy efficiency of the unit. Additionally, solar photovoltaic panels were added to the project to use sun-generated energy to reduce the remaining energy usage of the complex.


Through Green Insight’s collaboration with Thomas Development and Cress Builders, the El Camino Apartment complex not only met but exceeded its goals for sustainability. Altogether, the finished product earned:

  • LEED for Homes Platinum Certification
  • A $360,412 tax credit from New Mexico’s Sustainable Building Tax Credit
  • An $80,000 Federal 45L Tax Credit for energy efficiency

In all, El Camino Apartments was designed and constructed to be 70% more energy-efficient on average, an achievement that helped them earn the highest possible ratings in the LEED for Homes certification process.

Are you looking for a stress-free path to green building success? Our team will help you find the best solution for your green building project.

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Arizona State’s Lantana Hall Earns LEED for Home Platinum Rating

Green Insight’s mission on any project is simple: Use our expertise in green and sustainable building to work with developers on a project that doesn’t have to sacrifice style for substance, while keeping the bottom line clearly in focus.. 

Arizona State University’s Polytechnic Campus had just the project for us: A student housing facility that features dorms, common rooms, and state-of-the-art offices with a focus on energy efficiency. With this project, Green Insight was integral in helping developers achieve a LEED for Homes V4 Midrise Platinum Rating, the highest rating given by the U.S. Green Building Council, and higher than the project’s initial target of Silver.

Project Details

Lantana Hall, located on Arizona State University’s Polytechnic Campus, was a dormitory project consisting of 120 residential units, space for classrooms, offices, communal kitchens, and common rooms. Most units contained 4 bedrooms and 2 baths while some contained 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms or 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom.

Green Insight was hired by the developer to manage the LEED for Homes certification process, which included LEED for Homes Provider services and LEED for Homes Green Rater and HERS Rating testing and verification. 

Project Challenges

One of the biggest challenges to the project as a whole (which caused other challenges along the way) was its remote location of Mesa, AZ. Working from our Albuquerque, NM headquarters, we were engaged by the project’s developers after the project was already well underway. Therefore, time also became a challenge to ensure successfully meeting all green building standards required and specific standards desired.

Partners in the Lantana Hall project included Capstone Development Partners, CORE Construction, and Shepley Bulfinch Architecture.

Project Solutions

Because we were engaged late in the design process, we began with a comprehensive plan review to verify the building plans complied with the LEED checklist requirements.  Some adjustments were made which proved invaluable to the relatively smooth process going forward.  

Green Insight took full advantage of having the luxury of working in the 21st century. With modern technology, it is no longer absolutely vital for us to be physically present to conduct every inspection and work with project developers.  Using remote video technology, our Green raters were able to hold extra inspections prior to onsite visits to ensure that the time spent on site was utilized efficiently. This cut back on cost greatly as travel back and forth wasn’t necessary for each inspection.

Clear communication from the beginning was vital for all stakeholders, but especially for us coming in late to the game. Communication between us, the builder, and the architect was key to this project’s success. 

The Finished Product

The end of this project was successful on many fronts. First, we met and exceeded all goals for the developer including meeting the standards required for LEED for Homes Platinum rating. 

In addition to this certification, Lantana Hall was also awarded the 2021 Student Housing Business Innovator Award for Best Use of Green & Sustainable Construction/Design. This award honors excellence in student housing properties. Lantana Hall was recognized out of 140 project submissions. Projects were judged on a wide range of criteria including:

  • How the use of green and sustainable construction and development aligned with the university’s forward-thinking mission.
  • How the use of green and sustainable construction and development will assist in achieving short and long term cost savings. 
  • The project achieving a specific LEED rating
  • The number and scope of green and sustainable construction and development that are featured in the project as a whole.

If you’re ready to see how Green Insight can find the perfect solution for your sustainable living project, contact us today.

You will reach one of our team members who will be happy to discuss your project and your goals while showing you how Green Insight can help you with both. 

Platinum Luxury Apartments Receives LEED Platinum Certification

The challenge was set: How can you create a living experience that is the very embodiment of luxury while still keeping the utility costs low, the construction costs reasonable for the product type, and the utmost sustainability for the planet?

Out of this challenge, Platinum Luxury Apartments were designed and constructed with Green Insight’s assistance. Green Insight brought their expertise during the Schematic Design Phase of the project to create an energy-efficient building with great indoor air quality. 

Using building science and experience from our hundreds of successful multi-family home projects, we know how to conquer current green building and energy code requirements. Furthermore, finding the right rebates and incentives allowed us to exceed building code requirements and meet project sustainability goals. 

As Rick Goldman from Gold Spike put it, “Our development team for Platinum believed that the global sustainability revolution starts at home, so we transformed a blighted site into a LEED platinum building proving that sustainability can be stylish and affordable.” 

Stylish and sustainable, Platinum Luxury Apartments proved this can be achieved.

Project Details

Platinum Luxury Apartments have 75 units within a modern four-story building. Sleek and modern in its design, it was specifically designed to appeal to young professionals who are looking for luxury living with sustainability as a priority. 

Located in the trendy neighborhood of Nob Hill in the heart of Albuquerque, Platinum Apartments also features a communal sky deck that offers breathtaking views of the Sandia Mountains and West Mesa, a yoga studio, a billiard room, electric car charging stations in the parking court, secure storage for bicycles, and a dog wash station. 

Green Insight’s involvement with developers included:

  • LEED for Homes credit verification
  • Testing during construction
  • QAD review
  • Making energy efficiency recommendations
  • Assessing building material
  • Reviewing construction documents, specifications, and project submittals

By partnering with us, Golden Spike Development and Pavilion Construction were able to rise to the challenge of building a luxury apartment building for young professionals while still earning LEED for Homes Platinum certification. 

Project Challenges

This project had its fair share of challenges just like any project. However, in this instance, our biggest challenge was staying within the desired budget of $110 a square foot. Building projects are pricey, and green projects are no exception. 

In our efforts to stay at the targeted budget, we modeled numerous envelope designs, mechanical systems, and podium options to determine which would be the most cost-effective when it came to the building. If one didn’t get us there, it was back to the drawing board until we hit the target. 

Luckily, there are a lot of rebates and incentives when it comes to green building to make sustainability more of a priority in construction. We were able to account for all rebates and incentives this project qualified for and used them in every calculation we made. 

When it comes to our ability to problem-solve to meet the wants and needs of our client, Casey Cameron of Pavilion Construction said, “In this business, things don’t always work out perfectly, but the team at Green Insight is open to finding creative solutions to figure out the most timely, cost-efficient way to resolve issues. And their ability to turn things around and keep things on track distinguishes Green Insight from competitors.”

Project Solutions

After modeling many designs and systems, we landed on the most cost-efficient ones to keep on budget. The result is a wood-framed structure with an insulation/sheathing that is a lot like what would now be known as ZIP wall. Each unit has its mini-split and on-demand electric water heaters. For the common living areas, a small PV system provides all the power whether you’re doing yoga, playing billiards, or enjoying the mountain view on the rooftop deck.

The Finished Product

The end of the project produced a LEED for Homes Platinum Certified luxury complex that qualified for a $403,871 New Mexico Sustainable Building Tax Credit, a $13,090 water rebate from the city of Albuquerque, and a PNM utility rebate of $22,623. It also qualifies for the 179D Federal Tax Credit.

If you’re ready to see how Green Insight can find the perfect solution for your sustainable living project, contact us today. You will reach one of our team members who will be happy to discuss your project and your goals while showing you how Green Insight can help you with both. 

Cannon Air Force Base Project gets LEED for Homes Certification

After more than 5 years of delays, rating systems changes and untold mishaps, Green Insight is pleased to announce the Temporary Lodging Facility at Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis New Mexico has finally been approved for certification under LEED for Homes 2008! Congratulations to all involved including Tejas Premier, Green Living, LLC and of course the U.S. Airforce. It was an honor to work with our Armed Services and persist on getting this project through the certification process. Green Insight actually advocated for the project to the USGBC to be bring what was an otherwise “dead” project back to life by getting an exemption back into the 2008 program, despite the project missing the registration deadline for that rating system. While not the easiest project we’ve ever worked on, it was a privilege and honor for us.

Another Green Insight LEED for Homes Certification in the Cayman Islands

The LEED for Homes team at Green Insight would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Dean and Angela Garfinkel on the recent LEED for Homes V4.1 GOLD certification of their custom home in Crystal Harbour, Grand Cayman. This is yet another successful international LEED for Homes certification for Green Insight. As the company who certified the very first International project in the LEED for Homes program, we take pride in the successful completion of projects like this one, knowing the added difficulties of international certifications.

Through a combination of exceptional energy efficiency, water savings, and indoor air quality, this home will perform as well as it looks for many years to come. The large scale PV system in conjunction with the efficient envelope and systems, has this project modeling at net zero, even with the pool included.

Once again congratulations to the Garfinkels, the builder (Core Construction), the architect (Equiterra Design – formerly Environmental Dynamics of Albuquerque NM), and all of the trades whose hard work made this such a success!

Green Insight, LLC Receives 2018 PNM Multifamily Energy Efficiency Award

Each year the PNM Multifamily Energy Efficiency Program recognizes its top performing trade allies. These are contractors who have helped PNM reduce its electrical demand by partnering with multifamily housing developers to reduce their electrical energy consumption. At this year’s Trade Ally Kick-Off Meeting & Award Ceremony, Green Insight, LLC was presented with PNM’s Transformer Award. Green Insight was recognized for redefining how energy savings can be identified for rehab and new construction multifamily projects through its use of energy modeling. Green Insight was also credited for being the first Trade Ally to complete a new construction project for the multifamily program.

LEED Platinum Agricultural Worker Housing comes to Hatch, NM

Until recently, stability was hard to come by for those working in the agriculture industry in Hatch, NM. Work was hard, pay was low, and affordable housing was lacking. On April 12, however, that changed for 40 families with the grand opening of the $9.6 million El Camino Real Apartments. Built specifically for farm workers, this affordable housing complex offers income-based rent that adjusts with the growing season. During peak growing seasons rent will average $500 to $800 per month and drop as low as $150 during the off seasons. Also, because this project utilized federal low-income housing tax credits, each apartment had to be designed and built to be 30 percent more energy efficient than homes built to code and achieve certification under the green building standard of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. These apartments on average were built to be 70 percent more energy efficient and all achieved the highest level of certification under LEED, LEED Platinum. Read full article by Albuquerque Journal.

Platinum Building – New Apartments Certified LEED Platinum in Albuquerque

LEED for Homes projects are transforming the industry and the lives of dwellers across the country.

It has turned into the most widely used green building program in the world.This project and others in New Mexico have made us number 10 in our country with over 2000 LEED for Homes certified units.

Platinum is one of those trailblazer projects making it possible for people to live in the Nob Hill neighborhood of Albuquerque in a LEED building.  Not only is it the first project in Nob Hill to successfully implement the increased density and building height allowable in the Nob Hill Highland Sector Development Plan, but it is a catalyst project opening the doors of emerging Nob Hill, showing other people not only is it possible but it can be done with style for a reasonable cost.

The development team believes that the global sustainability revolution starts at home, where people’s habits are formed. This project transformed a blighted and under-used site into a LEED Platinum building that is a healthy, resource efficient, and hip place to live. The project has 74 units made up of efficiencies, one bedroom and two bedroom apartments with private decks. The ground floor has community space including an exercise area and business center. Each upper floor has community deck space with a BBQ area on the roof. All the units in the project achieved HERS ratings of 60 or better which qualified the project to receive nearly $400,000.00 from the State of New Mexico Sustainable Building Tax Credit. This project provides all the common  use space electricity from PV panels on the roof and you can charge your electric car for free.

This is one of those projects that is going to ripple outwards and has already impacted the Nob Hill community by sparking other developers and business entrepreneurs to start up projects in adjacent properties. We are likely going to see the transformation of emerging Nob Hill progress more quickly now.

Tom Roy Youth Guidance Home Earns LEED for Homes Silver

The Tom Roy Youth Guidance Home is an eight-bed long-term group home that serves 16-18 year-old youth aging out of foster care who are in need of a structured-living environment while they transition into adulthood.

Green Insight is very pleased to announce that this multifamily project has earned LEED for Home Silver certification – our first project in Montana.

The Home was designed with an integrated approach that included the youth, the staff, the board, the architect, CTA Architects Engineers, and the builder,Outback Construction, Inc.  Together they collaborated in creating a space that addresses the safety, health, educational and environmental needs of the kids, utilizing LEED for Homes™ green building guidelines. 

LEED for Homes Silver certification was achieved by use of local materials, a high efficiency HVAC system, ERV furnace and dual HRV systems, and heat pump hot water heaters. The project also included a number of indoor air quality measures and achieved a HERS index of 64.  

Read more at: http://youthhomesmt.org/about-us/leed-certification/