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Do you have a document with a simple overview of HDC’s Exemplary Buildings Program?

Yes! Download it here.

Why should affordable housing development lead the market transformation to sustainable exemplary buildings?

The affordable housing sector has been at the forefront of innovation and market transformation because building owners are unique in their critical need to balance first cost, long-term operating costs, durability, and the health and safety of residents in buildings that they own and manage long-term. The unique populations served in affordable housing require unique solutions that can only be developed by the sector participants themselves. 

What’s the urgency in continuing to push this program now when construction costs are so high?

Based on WA state law, all buildings will need to perform to the building code’s ultra-efficient standards by the year 2031, and the code changes coming in 2020 and 2026 will create hurdles along the way. Furthermore, not only are the signs of the climate crisis more and more evident, but operating resources for affordable housing developments are in short supply, threatening diversion of capital dollars to operations. 

Aren’t affordable housing developers already building environmentally sustainable buildings?

The affordable housing sector has continually advanced the expectations for the sustainable features in multi-family housing. What once seemed like a stretch is now common practice. This evolution has resulted in higher quality buildings, built and operated at reasonable costs. However, as technology and building science progress—and as the need to respond to the climate crisis grows in urgency—the environmentally sustainable standards for affordable housing must advance also. 

What’s early integrative design and why is it so important?

Integrative design is critical because an exemplary building is set of interdependent systems that must work together in order to deliver the promised results of efficiency and durability. These systems involve design, technology, and construction techniques that can only be accomplished by integrating all of the professionals engaged in the development of affordable housing. 

What accounts for the premium costs to construct exemplary buildings?

 The premium costs come primarily from the fact that many features of exemplary buildings are newer technologies and construction techniques. As products become more mainstream, supply chains are developed, and contractors gain experience, we expect premium costs to drop by up to two-thirds.  This has been the pattern of advances in more sustainable building over time.