This all brings us to the SOLARA, the recently opened apartment complex in Poway, California that claims to be the first fully solar-powered apartment complex in the state. The SOLARA includes 56 apartment units and office space within walking distance of services, shopping and public transportation. Southern California + green building + apartment name in all capital letters - you might think this is more green housing for the wealthy. You would be wrong.The SOLARA is owned by the San Diego based non-profit Community HousingWorks, which developed the project in order to provide green affordable housing. The 56 units will provide green housing options and a pedestrian-friendly environment to a new set of individuals and families in Southern California. When all is said and done, the SOLARA claims to have the "lowest carbon footprint of any apartment complex in California, 95 percent lower than a conventionally powered community." That deserves a big old TreeHugger thumbs up. ::Global Green via Apartment Therapy LA
Solar-powered single-family homes are so yesterday. Sure, we appreciate the many owners who have become their own utility company (many times even putting their excess solar energy in the grid). However, when it comes to the other factors of smart housing, single-family homes can't hold a candle to multi-family units. Not only does an apartment or condo complex use much less land (and therefore much less infrastructure) than single-family homes on a per unit basis, it creates the density needed to support communities where walkability and public transportation are top notch. That's why we love when multi-family units start powering up with the technologies gaining traction in single-unit residences.