Green Apartment Construction Hinges on Living Density

Two weeks ago we posted an article entitled “Insurance Company Responds to Demand for Green Apartments.” This article related how a company has introduced new policies to accommodate the growing demand for green apartment buildings. One such building is the ParkMerced, located in San Francisco’s Ingleside neighborhood.

The new owners of San Francisco’s ParkMerced have announced their vision of revitalizing the community into a model for sustainable and green living. Ambitious and innovative, the plan seeks to update the apartment complex and surrounding area to meet the challenges of urban living in the 21st century.

The community was originally intended for post World War II families; the project was designed with a ‘car-centric’ theme. The new plan would integrate Park Merced with the surrounding neighborhood as well as the rest of the city. Environmentalists and planners have hailed the new apartment construction plan as a model for green apartments and living for the 21st century.

The restoration of the community would have the following impacts:

  • Energy consumption would be cut by 62% due to the installation of cogeneration systems
  • Water use would decrease by 42% in each unit with the introduction of greywater irrigation
  • Reduction of carbon emissions through the provision of more public transportation, the addition of nearby shops and markets, and the creation of pedestrian & bicycle paths.

As promising as these benefits sound, the San Francisco Chronicle article from which we report, foresees a plan that will, “test competing priorities for San Francisco‚Ķits embrace of ecological causes and its aversion to denser development.” Opposition to the proposal has centered on the current residents’ skepticism of adding 5,700 new apartments, which would triple the number of residences available.

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Eco-friendly housing depends on a higher concentration of residences; this is how the communities can economically share resources without encroaching on the environment surrounding the city. The ultimate question is, “Is it worth it?”

The contest between eco-friendly living and less dense urban living will have to be decided by renters. What are you willing to give up to go green? Would you rent an apartment in a dense community in order to live more eco-friendly?

Post digested from San Francisco Chronicle, “Grand Green Vision for S.F’s ParkMerced

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