As sustainable as they are affordable, these three LEED Platinum housing units in Philadelphia were all priced at under $300,000.
When the developers of Los Angeles' Auburn 7 housing complex broke ground in 2007, they weren't sure whether people would pay a premium for eco-friendly amenities. Today, many of the complex's features, including radiant heating in the floor, tankless water heaters, low-flush toilets, and Energy Star kitchen appliances, are standards in green design.
While the 62-unit GreenCity Lofts in Oakland fell narrowly short of LEED Platinum certification, it does exceed California's rigorous sustainability standards by 15 percent. A few more impressive stats: the project's steel superstructure was built from 90 percent postconsumer recycled content, and 95 percent of the demolition waste from the construction was recycled.
At Millenium City, a Japanese utopian community consisting of four residential greenhouses, trees help monitor the interior temperatures and solar panels made from plastic bottles provide heat for the water.
In torrid Houston, going green is all about cutting cooling costs. The Shade House Development masters efficient climate control thanks to Cool Tone shingles and cleverly placed air conditioning units, which the architects say are a necessary evil during the summer months.