Sustainable public housing for Valdosta?

A group of Valdosta City Council members recently visited Sustainable Fellwood in Savannah, and may be considering it as a model for affordable fair housing in Valdosta. There’s also a model much closer than Savannah.

Here’s how one blog described Sustainable Fellwood, 17 November 2009:

Fellwood is a project which aims to demonstrate that highly efficient and healthy buildings can be built affordably. The project will include a four acre park and a community garden. Preserving the local oak tree canopy will be another important step. The development team is taking steps to reduce stormwater run off and utilize native landscaping. Energy Star appliances, reflective roofs, and high efficiency windows are all included in the plans. The project will be registered with the EarthCraft Coastal Communities certification, and it is a pilot LEED — ND neighborhood. It is developed using the principles of smart growth for walkable and diverse communities.

Jan Skutch wrote for SavannahNow 16 May 2012, Sustainable Fellwood celebrates final two phases,

Six years after groundbreaking, Sustainable Fellwood on Tuesday celebrated the completion of the final two phases in what officials call the rebirth of the west Savannah community.

Phase II, 110 apartments, and phase III, a 100-unit senior citizen living complex, joined the initial phase completed in 2009 in the project that transformed the 1940s-era Fellwood Homes public housing neighborhood into a gleaming, environmentally friendly mixed—income tract.

“This has been a dream of mine for a good, long while,” said Sylvester Formey, a local business leader whose Vanguard Developers were partners in the collaborative for the project.

Mary Landers reported in Savannahnow 7 January 2012 that Jack Star said:

Sustainable Fellwood on West Bay Street is now home to what may be the largest solar installation on affordable housing in Georgia, an up and running 85kW system on the development’s senior citizen center.

Back in 10 August 201, Landers quoted Jack Star:

“The thing is, it’s not even just the money,” Star said. “This will demonstrate it can be done. And with solar panels continuing to drop (in price) it’s something everyone should do—homebuilders, commercial buildings, warehouses. They’ll realize how easy it is to do this.”

His next goal is to make sure every building built with public funds is solar-ready.

“They’re tearing down Hitch Village and Savannah Gardens,” Star said. “Those buildings should all be made solar ready.”

Jack C. Star wrote for Connect Savannah 19 June 2012, Sustainable Summer: New housing beats the heat (and electric bills) with groundbreaking technology

Deteriorating public housing projects pose a challenge all over the country. But as they say, with great challenge comes great opportunity.

In parts of Savannah that opportunity isn’t going to waste, as those dilapidated projects are being replaced with state—of—the art mixed—income, mixed—use communities, built to the highest standards of energy efficiency and sustainability. Attractive buildings, plenty of green space, playgrounds — all designed to foster a spirit of a welcoming neighborhood. As realtor Stacy Marcus recalls one of her clients saying, “It’s just like coming home.”

That article has more about how they, including the residents, did it.

And let’s not forget, there’s an example much closer at hand, one county over, Spring Creek Apartments, just south of Quitman in Brooks County.

I think Laurie Bonner is onto something:

“Any new construction, any new development, I think they should implement this type of energy.”

Local jobs to install solar electricity and hot water heating that reduces electrical bills, avoids brownouts, and increases the value of the property: what’s not to like?



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