Studio 819 – Roof H2O Goes to Plants in Affordable Homes

November 2, 2015

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA—While Silicon Valley is booming with new high-tech start-ups and the coveted jobs associated with them, many in the workforce still lack access to affordable housing. Partnering with the city, ROEM Corporation and Eden Housing took the challenge of converting an older community into one that rivals market-rate housing in design and amenities while achieving the highest USGBC LEED rating, LEED-H Platinum certification, explored in this follow up.

Working with the project’s designer, national award-winning firm KTGY Architecture + Planning, achieving LEED certification was a top priority for ROEM Corporation from the start of the project. With this vision set in the initial phase, Studio 819 surpassed Title-24 standards by 32% with features that optimize energy performance through insulation, windows, water heating, mechanical, lighting and appliances.

Robert Emami, CEO and president of ROEM Corporation, tells “Studio 819 embodies the commitment of ROEM Corporation to building sustainable housing in which anyone, at any income level, would want to live. ROEM views environmental challenges as opportunities to create fundamentally better buildings and communities–more comfortable, more efficient and more appealing. ROEM not only believes that building green is the right thing to do as stewards of the land, but it is also good for business.”

Awarded the highest amount of points for location and linkages, Studio 819’s large rooftop solar PV system, which consists of 120 solar panels, will help offset some of the energy load and provide a significant amount of energy to the project. In addition, the water heaters are 96% efficient and Energy Star labeled.

With drought at the forefront of everyone’s minds, the landscaping at Studio 819 includes environmentally sensitive plants, with 45% of the plants being drought tolerant. No invasive plants or turf were used onsite. Water runoff has been engineered to flow directly from the roof into the landscaping with the capacity of accepting storm water from a 10-year storm. This significantly limits the amount of water that flows off-site into the public storm system.

To achieve water efficiency, a highly specialized irrigation system designed to meet the needs of a drought-tolerant region was installed. The hydro-zoned irrigation system will deliver water to only the areas that need it, while also being weather sensitive. It also automatically adjusts the amount of water delivered based on local conditions. Inside the units, low-water consumption interior fixtures were installed.

A unifying effort throughout the project was to use as much locally sourced or recycled material as possible. For example, all framing lumber was from forests within 500 miles of the project site. In addition, the project used a locally sourced slab for the on-grade foundation, which contained a cement mix made of 25% fly ash, reducing the amount of cement needed for the project. Locally sourced insulation made from 65% recycled materials and low VOCs–paints, adhesives, flooring and insulation–were used throughout the project. The focus on using environmentally friendly materials allowed the construction team to recycle 84% of the construction waste.

“With ROEM’s commitment to achieve a minimum LEED Silver certification on its projects, ROEM now has 17 USGBC LEED or California Build-It-Green-certified projects. By creating a quality development that fits the context of the neighborhood and is environmentally sensitive, ROEM creates extra value for its product,” said Emami.