Archive Of The Category ‘affordable housing‘


Solving Shelter

February 16, 2022._Petaluma, CA, USA._(CRISSY PASCUAL/ARGUS-COURIER STAFF)

The City of Petaluma, where I live, just declared a shelter crisis.

This is in California, the 5th largest economy in the world — and the largest sub-national economy. Petaluma is not unique in having this problem; it’s all but ubiquitous. We’re doing something very wrong, and it’s shameful — but it’s not inevitable. There are shining examples of cities that have taken effective measures to ensure the availability of affordable, livable, and desirable housing for virtually every income level. Here’s a quick, inspiring read on what needs to happen to fix our housing problems. There’s more about Vienna here, and more about Helsinki here.

Let’s start conversations with our city officials about taking more effective actions to address this social problem that affects us all!

Rebuild Green Expo – February 22, Santa Rosa

Rebuild Green Expo flyer

This free event is open to all, and attendees from throughout California’s fire-ravaged communities are warmly welcomed! The Expo’s goal is to provide information that will help fire survivors rebuild their homes and communities to be as resilient, sustainable, and healthy as possible — and as affordably as possible.

Please share with all Northern California networks.

Details at

New ZNE Homes Resource

Congratulations to author Ed Dean and the team at Southern California Edison for their new publication, Zero Net Energy Case Study Homes, Volume 1 — and to all the project teams whose work it describes!

My favorite thing about the book is that, with just five case studies, it demonstrates that ZNE performance is achievable across a wide spectrum of housing types: new single-family homes (the easiest), a single-family renovation, a modestly-sized modular home, single-family production-built homes, and new multifamily housing.

Here’s an excerpt from my foreword:

Members of the ZNE community outside California – in places that have “real” weather – sometimes scoff at the lack of challenge of accomplishing ZNE here. Admittedly, our populous coastal areas benefit from benign climates, but we also have both very cold climates, such as Redding (similar in heating degree days to Chicago), and very hot ones, such as Palm Springs. Other factors also make this a challenging environment for housing innovation, among them high costs, a highly mobile workforce, and a notoriously litigious culture. Thus creating successful, marketable, ZNE projects is a non-trivial feat.

All the projects represented here have met the pinnacle of ZNE achievement: verified site ZNE. That is, not only was each project designed to be capable of achieving ZNE, but utility bills provide objective evidence of occupants’ energy use yielding ZNE in actual operation over the course of a full year. Further, site ZNE (explained in the introduction) is the most difficult definition to meet. These projects therefore demonstrate, importantly, that operational site ZNE (to which source ZNE is equal, for all-electric projects) is an achievable benchmark. These proofs of viability are absolutely critical to supporting the State’s likely push towards residential electrification in years to come. The project developers whose work is showcased here are thus to be both congratulated and thanked for their significant contributions to the future of housing in California, and beyond. Read on, and benefit from their experience.


1180 Fourth Street — Gateway to Mission Bay South, SF

1180 Fourth Street, San Francisco

1180 Fourth Street, San Francisco

1180 Fourth Street marks the corner of 4th and Channel Streets as a gateway to San Francisco’s newest neighborhood, Mission Bay South. This setting carries civic obligations unusual for an affordable housing project; it demands a welcoming, well-made and richly articulated building to set the standard for development to follow on the surrounding blocks. As a community-oriented development for 150 low-income families, this building must hold its own amongst larger, more expensive market-rate neighbors and biotech campuses. The project includes 11,000 sq. ft. of retail space lining the Fourth Street corridor, anchored by a corner restaurant space, and a community building facing Channel Park to serve the greater neighborhood. Common areas include two mid-block courtyards and a rooftop garden; a teen room, exercise room, day care and supportive services. The building is designed to achieve a LEED® for Homes Midrise Platinum rating.

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