This site is intended for architects and architecture students who are interested in exploring the co-housing model specifically in urban settings. It is based on work done by students in a studio design course I taught at the University of Maryland School of Architecture in 2009. Though still in progress, I wanted to put this information “out there” for others to explore and potentially contribute to, as our understanding of how to live well continues to evolve.
Beyhan Cagri Trock, Architect
TrockWorks Architectural Services
Cohousing and LEED:
Mainstream America is much more serious about protecting the environment and making the life-style changes and sacrifices necessary to sustain the planet. Given that buildings annually consume more than 30% of the total energy and 60% of the electricity produced in the US (US Green Building Council), implemementing strategies for building in a more sustainable way is no longer a romantic notion but an economic imperative.
Fortunately, green building practices have the added benefits of
- reducing operating costs,
- enhancing property values,
- increasing productivity,
- encouraging biologically diverse habitats,
- re-invigorating urban communities, and even
- providing tax incentives.
All of these benefits make a cohousing project financially feasible. The LEED (Leadership in Energy Efficient Design) system of credits guidr design strategies which are not only beneficial to the environment, but also very well suited to the goals of the Cohousing movement.
The environmental benefits of cohousing are considerable. Graham Meltzer, author of Sustainable Community: Learning from the Cohousing Model, found that when households make the move to cohousing, they own fewer cars and more bicycles. Through pooled shopping and other shared errands, total per-person vehicular trips in urban co-housing can be decreased by as much as 50%.
Because these communities are populated with residents that share a vision of sustainability, green products with low VOC emissions, ample insulation, energy efficient glazing, plumbing, electrical fixtures and appliances are typically specified. You may want to provide a geothermal (ground source) heating system to reduce the energy requirements of the building, as well as a green roof to limit heat gain and stormwater runoff. Consider providing little to no parking to encourage residents to use bicycles, as well as public transportation.
(taken from © 2004 Canadian Cohousing Network)
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