Eco-conscious, green home building has long been most popular among the elite. Energy efficient appliances, geothermal heating systems, and reclaimed building materials are the latest trendy additions to luxury house designs, alongside amenities like infinity pools, home theater systems, wine cellars, and automated smart systems.
But in Baltimore, Enterprise Homes and Osprey Property Co. have joined forces to bring green building practices to low-income housing as well. In the first week of July, the two housing companies celebrated the completion of a new $16.2 million affordable housing complex called Riverwoods at North East.
Riverwoods features 76 family units in Cecil County, Maryland, with rents as low as just $358 a month. The most expensive units only cost $880 per month, and all the apartments are fully leased already. The apartment complex also meets the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria, the first national set of guidelines for green affordable housing construction.
In upscale developments, green building can include features like geothermal heating or a garage with plug-in charging stations for electric vehicles. But there are also simpler ways to promote energy efficiency. For instance, convection ovens cook food 25% faster while also using less energy, while double-paned wood windows can cut energy costs by as much as 18 – 24% in both the summer and winter.
The new affordable housing complex was funded in part by an FHA-insured loan backed by AGM Financial and Wells Fargo, a federal housing grant, and a $457,000 loan from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. In addition, the State of Maryland also provided a 9% tax credit.
Enterprise CEO Chickie Grayson said the goal of Riverwoods isn’t just to help transition families from homelessness to stability, but to address the growing problem of housing insecurity, when families are chronically on the verge of homelessness or eviction.
“We know that an increasing number of families and individuals face housing insecurity, paying more than half of their income on housing,” Grayson said.