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Cadence Sets New Precedent As First Affordable Housing Development To Achieve Green Communities Plus and WELL Certification

Monday, 28 August 2023 11:30

International WELL Building Institute

NORTHAMPTON, MA / ACCESSWIRE / August 28, 2023 / International WELL Building Institute

by Yan Tai

This summer, Cadence, an affordable senior living development located in Fort Collins, Colorado and comprising 55 senior living apartments, achieved a new first in the country - attaining Green Communities Plus and WELL Certification. Green Communities, created and administered by Enterprise Community Partners, is the leading sustainable building program designed specifically for affordable housing, while the WELL Building Standard (WELL), developed by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), is the world's leading framework for creating and certifying spaces that advance human health and well-being. The "Plus" level of 2020 Green Communities is the highest certification tier, recognizing significant achievement for housings that meet all certification requirements and have invested in deep levels of energy efficiency.

In addition to the dual Green Communities Plus-WELL Certification, Cadence was also named a Zero Energy Ready project through a program offered by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Advancing health and sustainability through smart, integrative design

Cadence, built during the COVID-19 pandemic, made health and well-being top priorities. The building focused on indoor air quality by installing high-performance HVAC systems coupled with an airtight and insulated building envelop that, when necessary, help protect against harmful outdoor pollutants such as wildfire smoke. It also introduced other health strategies including interventions for moisture control, passive radon ventilation, and operable windows. The project's health-first solutions don't stop there, also including several biophilic designs and community-engagement strategies.

The development was also a leader in sustainability, adopting important interventions to help save energy and reduce utility bills. For example, the well-insulated building envelope is also a key strategy to reduce energy consumption. Because of a full-range of energy efficiency measures, the building is certified under ENERGY STAR and the Department of Energy's Zero Energy Ready Home program, meaning Cadence is a high-performance building that is so energy-efficient that its renewable energy system could offset most or all the building's annual energy use. Cadence also dramatically reduced its water consumption by 42.6% compared to the industry baseline-saving 1.2 million gallons of water per year.

"Through our partnership with Enterprise, affordable housing developments all across the country can attain dual certification under Green Communities Criteria and WELL, which helps ensure this critical sector has the opportunity to take the lead on both sustainability and health," said Rachel Hodgdon, President and CEO, IWBI. "We congratulate Cadence for taking up this leadership challenge and being the first to achieve WELL Certification and Green Communities Plus, making it one of the country's most exemplary projects working to pioneer places that foster well-being and advance both human and planetary health."

How financial incentives helped Cadence

Volunteers for America, a non-profit organization that developed Cadence, financed the construction costs utilizing the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) with equity provided by Enterprise. Colorado is one of 35 states, in addition to the District of Columbia and New York City, whose LIHTC programs require or incentivize certifying to Enterprise Green Communities. Apartments at Cadence are reserved for seniors earning between 20% and 80% of the area median income.

What others are saying about Cadence's leadership

VOA's decision for Cadence to pursue certification under the 2020 Enterprise Green Communities criteria showcases a dedication to fostering a resilient community and supporting both human and climate health.

"We put the thought and care into making the design sustainable for the long term to ensure that the property is an asset for the (Cadence) community for the foreseeable future."

-Brian Reilly, Development Director, Volunteers of America

"Resilient building is the only way to future-proof our communities against the effects of a changing climate. Cadence represents a deep commitment to sustainability: healthy, energy-efficient affordable homes that are responsive to resident, community, and environmental priorities."

- Krista Egger, Vice President, Building Resilient Futures, Enterprise

Background on IWBI & Enterprise's partnership

In 2019, IWBI and Enterprise formed a strategic partnership to create and implement a shared vision for affordable homes that improve residents' health and well-being. By working collaboratively to integrate WELL features into the 2020 Green Communities Criteria, Enterprise and IWBI created a best-in-class certification pathway that provides affordable housing developers a flexible roadmap for achieving higher levels of health and well-being benefits that are rooted in the latest scientific evidence and best practices. Today, through the partnership, projects that are certified to Enterprise 2020 Green Communities Criteria are simultaneously certified under WELL, helping affordable housing developers to focus on ensuring affordable homes advance health outcomes while promoting environmental sustainability.

Since the launch of the 2020 Green Communities, Enterprise has been working with 20 affordable housing developments comprising more than 500 new and rehabilitated homes across 12 states and the District of Columbia to support early adopters of the new joint certification program.

In 2022, Thessalonica Court, a Bronx, NY-based apartment building that was rehabilitated by Jonathan Rose Companies, became the first to achieve the joint certification under Enterprise Green Communities and WELL. Cadence, one of the projects in this leadership cohort, is the second to achieve the joint certification, but the first to do so at the Enterprise Green Communities Plus certification level.

To learn more about Cadence, click here.

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Contact Info:
Spokesperson: International WELL Building Institute
Email: [email protected]

SOURCE: International WELL Building Institute

Environmental, Social and Governance
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