A slow shift is taking place among affordable housing developers throughout the country. Many are beginning to “go green” — that is, use products and construction practices that promote healthy indoor environments, keep utility costs low and protect the overall environment.
In Washington DC, longtime LISC partner, Manna Inc. is taking the lead. Under the leadership of staff architect Regina Reilly, the “Greening Manna Initiative” is underway.
This initiative is focused on making Manna a leader in green affordable housing. Over the past 2 years, key members of Manna staff have received training in the latest green technologies and have identified immediate and future steps the organization can take to green themselves and the proper ties they develop.
Why go green? According to Reilly, “Green building provides direct benefits to Manna’s homeowners through better indoor air quality and lower utility bills. Our goal is to have green technologies become standard practice.”
Hampered by the increased cost of going green, Manna had been unable to incorporate green products and practices in their properties. Today, that is no longer the case. Through LISC/Home Depot Foundation’s initiative to support green affordable housing, LISC is providing Manna $55,000 in grants to support production efforts and increased staff capacity. This grant will help Manna leverage additional resources for their initiative.
Manna’s first green properties are currently under construction. They are located at 320 K Street NE in the Near Northeast neighborhood and 345 Oakdale Place, NW in
Ledroit Park. These properties, 11 units in total, will include a long list of green features and be affordable for lower income families.
The two units at the K Street NE property, both are 2 bedrooms and 1 bath, will sell for $160,000 and $172,000. Homeowners there will not only enjoy lower utility bills but also healthier indoor air quality and more efficient heating and cooling systems.
As they move forward, Manna acknowledges that the road ahead will likely prove challenging. The cost of producing green housing requires additional resources to keep homes affordable to lower income buyers. It is their hope that eventually, green building will become the norm and technology will close the cost between green and non-green housing – until then, Manna will continue to lead the charge in Washington DC.