A new senior affordable housing development called “11010 smB,” for which VCA Green served as the LEED consultant, won a Sustainability Innovation Award (SIA) at the U.S. Green Building Council — Los Angeles’ 19th Annual Gala and Awards.
About 75,000 people in Los Angeles County are experiencing homelessness, and U.S. veterans are at a higher risk of becoming homeless after completing their service due to a void of resources and unchecked housing policies. The Weingart Center, an LA-based nonprofit, has been working to transform the lives of those afflicted by such obstacles through permanent housing that disrupts the homelessness cycle.
Knowing the attributes that 11010 smB brings to the community, VCA Green submitted the project for recognition, and USGBC LA awarded the team an SIA for Equity and Environmental Justice.
“The SIAs affirm a project team’s commitment to a sustainable built environment; evaluate merit-based sustainable strategies that demonstrate exemplary performance by going above and beyond credit achievement in built or un-built projects; and reflect the organization’s emphasis on energy and water savings, air quality, waste, good design, community engagement, education and equity,” according to USGBC LA.
This five-story, 51-unit building – 50 units of which are solely available for the veteran community age 62 or older – achieved LEED Homes Midrise Platinum certification with 82 points. The Center also went beyond the building structure and design to ensure a strong footing for the personal lives of 11010 smB’s residents.
VCA Green is proud to have worked on such an impactful project. The below case study outlines the sustainability features that pushed the site’s performance above and beyond many LEED requirements and merited its SIA award.
WHY THIS CERTIFICATION
Throughout the project, the Center championed the LEED certification, communicating often and quickly responding to confirm credit achievability and provide photo verification. Starting from a solid trades training and even down to the smallest action items, all teams remained dedicated to the integrative process to see this project to the finish line.
“At the Weingart Center Association, we take pride in our LEED Platinum status as we work toward eliminating homelessness and ensuring our clients continue to thrive in healthy, safe, and sustainable communities,” Weingart Center President and CEO Kevin Murray said.
• Rating system: LEED v4 Homes Midrise
• Certification level, point total, certification date: Platinum (82 points) certified November 4, 2023
• Gross floor area: 38,245 sq. ft.
• Construction type: Affordable senior housing for U.S. veterans
• Credit highlights:
• Location & Transportation: Exemplary performance for site selection and proximity to amenities
• Water Efficiency: Plumbing lines insulate hot water from boiler to fixtures
• Energy & Atmosphere: Reduced energy use 24.5% from ASHRAE standards
• Materials & Resources: Insulation comprises 70% pre-consumer recycled content
• Indoor Environmental Quality: Envelope and IAQ test results are well below maximum thresholds
BEHIND THE CONSTRUCTION
Architects at Perkins+Will designed modular units to streamline the construction process and increase density – each unit averages about 338 square feet – boosting the number of people in need of permanent housing that can benefit from this project.
With Swinerton serving as the general contractor, Silver Creek Modular assembled the prefabricated sections in Perris, California, remaining close to the project to reduce associated transportation emissions. The modular method of construction also helped to minimize material waste and enhanced quality control.
Unit rent is priced to be accessible for households earning 50 percent or less of the LA-area median income, earning a LEED innovation point.
CREDIT DEEP DIVE
The 100 percent infill development maxed out LEED’s Location and Transportation credits, earning exemplary performance for site selection and the vast number of community resources available. Residents also are situated in a highly walkable area with myriad public transportation options.
A half-acre field within walking distance enhances 11010 smB residents’ accessibility to outdoor space. Rooftop lounges, a green roof, a community room, and a fitness center offer relationship-building opportunities within the project.
Through modeling, VCA Green helped reduce energy use at 11010 smB by 24.5 percent from ASHRAE standards, exceeding even the maximum allowable points for energy and atmosphere credits in the LEED Homes Midrise scorecard. Plumbing lines are insulated from the high-efficiency boiler all the way to each fixture, reducing heat loss and ensuring swift and reliable hot water delivery. Energy Star-rated central laundry units and the naturally ventilated garage forgoes the need for extra energy-consuming equipment.
LED lighting and efficient indoor fans also contribute to a comfortable and low-energy-use environment. Plus, the project’s envelope and IAQ testing results consistently came in well under maximum CFM thresholds.
A turfless, native plant-filled landscaping plan reduced outdoor water consumption and achieved full points for the associated credit. The project also installed energy and water meters that have been sharing data with USGBC and set them up to achieve future Energy Star certifications and meet local and state benchmarking requirements. Also, the building’s insulation comprises 70 percent pre-consumer recycled content, reducing the amount of new material needed to be generated to construct the project.
Services like case management and substance abuse counseling are available on site, as well as “welcome home” packages for each new resident, which are filled with basic living supplies like cleaning products, bathroom items, bedding, and cookware.
Not only did the Weingart Center want to provide residents with safe, budget-conscious living, but they also kept energy performance, sustainability, and longevity of tenant health and wellness front of mind. 11010 smB marries the crucial need for affordable housing in one of the most expensive parts of the United States with the burgeoning sustainable development movement – so much so that has secured one of the highest ratings in green building certification available. VCA Green helped the project exceed in several LEED categories and was honored to accept the SIA with the Weingart Center at the USGBC LA event. To help your project excel in green building performance, contact a VCA Green principal below.
Moe Fakih, Principal
Robyn Vettraino, Principal
Dani Grace, Contributing Writer