2012 Affordable Housing Development of the Year award winner
Before construction, the plot of land on Intervale Avenue in the Crotona Park East section of the South Bronx had been vacant for 25 years, in a neighborhood that had suffered a great deal of disinvestment and is in the middle of the poorest congressional district in the United States. Through partnership with several government and community stakeholders, including HPD, HDC, the Bronx Overall EDC, NYSERDA, and the Bronx Borough President, WHEDco turned the vacant lot into a cutting edge green development that is 33% more energy efficient than a conventional building and is the nation’s largest multi-family, Energy Star certified affordable housing development. The development is deeply affordable to people in the neighborhood, and one-third of the 128 units are set aside for formally homeless residents.
The building is green inside and out: WHEDco used only low-VOC and nontoxic construction materials; highly efficient and water-saving heating, ventilation, insulation, plumbing fixtures and windows; formaldehyde-free, reclaimed and sustainable materials for flooring and cabinets and Energy Star appliances. Increasing neighborhood green-space, WHEDco planted two roofs with a 20,000 sq. ft. green roofing system that stores and filters water. Additionally, WHEDco infused green practices in staff training and property management: WHEDco’s Sustainability Manager is benchmarking and measuring the impact of the energy-efficient design, practices and management. Intervale Green was also the first building in New York to participate in the Enterprise Green Communities program, the first national green building program developed for affordable housing. Tenants are predicted to save up to 30% annually on utility bills, easing the burden on low income families already struggling during difficult economic times.
WHEDco has 20 years of experience helping low-income families in the Bronx restore and revitalize their neighborhoods, through early childhood, youth development, and family support programs, green housing, and a community development department that engages the community in entrepreneurial development, improving health and safety, and commercial revitalization. WHEDco catalyzed the Southern Boulevard Business Mile with a Merchant Association, started a Green Cart vendor program, advocated for improved lighting and safety around the subway, and increased support for entrepreneurs to green their businesses.
Intervale Green continues both WHEDco’s and the larger CDC community’s mission to prove that not only can green building can be done affordably and be supported by low-income tenants, but that the same attention to design, healthy buildings, and respect for the community can and should be a part of development housing in every neighborhood of New York City.