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Affordable Housing Project Earns LEED Platinum Certification

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The Vista Dunes Courtyard Homes in La Quinta is the nation’s largest multi-family affordable housing project to obtain LEED “Platinum” certification and is the first in California to achieve this standard. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is the green building certification program of the U.S. Green Building Council.

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Opened in May 2008 and developed by the City of La Quinta Redevelopment Agency and opened in May, Vista Dunes sits on the site of an extremely dilapidated mobile home park that housed approximately 370 residents. The new community features 80 rental units ranging from one-to-three bedrooms and can accommodate 300 residents when filled to capacity. Rent ranges from $374 to $775 per month depending on resident income and unit size.

La Quinta, a city of close to 43,000 residents in the Coachella Valley, purchased the mobile home park in 2005 with a plan to create a green workforce housing community. The city council is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the city and made Vista Dunes its first foray into sustainable development. The city council has also adopted a Green and Sustainable La Quinta Program, allocating more than $760,000 for the city’s green initiatives.

Here is a quick snapshot of Vista Dune’s sustainable features:

  • The homes are positioned to minimize western exposure with landscaped trellises to shade western walls
  • Drought tolerant landscaping and efficient irrigation
  • Thermal chimneys to let in natural light and help circulate and ventilate air
  • Photovoltaic solar panels on each unit
  • Enhanced filtration in HVAC system (heating, ventilating and air conditioning)
  • High efficiency plumbing and fixtures: tankless water heaters, dual flush toilets and oxygenated shower heads and faucets
  • Water efficient front-loading washing machines
  • Energy Star fans, roofing and windows
  • R-19 insulation in exterior walls to reduce energy consumption
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Content in this case story may be out of date, or tools used to accomplish the outcomes may no longer be available.  However, in concept this story may still offer a good example.

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