exterior of multiple shipping containers that have been converted into solar powered homes.

Four Multifamily Projects Showcase Sustainable Living

The winners of the 2021 Planet Positive Awards in the multifamily category included dwellings for the unhoused, a fully electrified apartment building, and an affordable, passive house development.

The Metropolis Planet Positive Awards were established last year to recognize the incredible breadth of the Green Building movement and celebrate the projects and products that have a positive impact on people and planet.

What does that mean? To be Planet Positive, projects and products must go beyond addressing energy efficiency or a reduction in harmful chemicals. The winning projects make a holistic effort to do good in the world in the related fields of health, equity, and ecological regeneration. The multifamily winners, selected by Ingrid Spencer, executive director, AIA Austin, and Drew Shula, founder and CEO, Verdical Group, prove that sustainable living can be made accessible to people of all income strata.

Submit a project for the 2022 Planet Positive Awards here.

wood clad interior with bunk beds
Above and top: Monarch Village in Lawrence, Kansas, expands the Lawrence Community Shelter’s capacity, and offers shelter and privacy in the form of 12 tiny house units. COURTESY STUDIO 804

Midwest Multi-Family/Mixed Use

Studio 804, Monarch Village, Lawrence Kansas (top multifamily)

With the introduction of Monarch Village, twelve tiny dwellings expand the Lawrence Community Shelter’s ability to provide supported environments in which individuals experiencing homelessness can quarantine or isolate. 

Over the long term, the dwellings will afford individuals and families staying at the Lawrence Community Shelter a commodity that typically evades households experiencing homelessness: privacy. A lack of private space can feel unsafe and triggering and is a frequent reason unsheltered individuals and families cite for avoiding emergency shelters in their time of need. Simultaneously, they would reduce the number of guests sleeping in the dorms, facilitating better social distancing thus keeping the entire population safer from airborne illnesses.

These homes are especially unique in that they are the first in North America to feature full, private bathrooms for the residents.

Exterior of building and train tracks. solar panels visible on roof

Northeast Multi-Family/Mixed Use

Dattner Architects, Metcalf Avenue Apartments, the Bronx, NYC

The 12-story building includes 249 units of mixed-used affordable housing with ground floor retail and community facilities. It has been pre-certified by Passive House Institute US + 2015 (PHIUS) and is on track for Passive House certification this summer.

Marvel, Stonewall House, Brooklyn, NYC (Honorable Mention)

Stonewall House is the largest LGBT-welcoming elder housing development in the country. It is Enterprise Green Communities Certified.

exterior of building and garden, building is clad in metal and wood.

Northwest Multi-Family/Mixed Use

Sitka, Runberg Architecture Group, Seattle, WA

Sitka is a 7-story, 384-unit building in Seattle’s thriving South Lake Union neighborhood that is LEED for Home Platinum certified and Salmon Safe certified. The project is the first multifamily project in the U.S. to use a Wastewater Heat Recovery system to capture heat from outgoing wastewater and reuse it for domestic hot water heating; and a greywater harvesting system that diverts water from showers and laundry for on-site irrigation.

exterior of building with angular facade taken from above

West Multi-Family/Mixed Use

David Baker Architects, Edwina Benner Plaza, Sunnyvale, CA

This all-electric building is among the first affordable developments in California to have zero operating emissions. It transforms an underutilized site with 66 supportive homes for formerly homeless and low-income families, much needed in housing-crunched Silicon Valley.

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