Rockland Homes for Heroes brings healthy and affordable housing to veterans (USGBC New York Upstate)
The LEED Platinum project shows that sustainability and affordability can go hand in hand.
In 2023, New York ranked first in the Top 10 States for LEED by gross square footage per capita. Among the many unique projects certified this past year was the LEED Platinum Rockland Homes for Heroes II.
Rockland Homes for Heroes (RH4H), a charitable organization in Orangetown, New York, is dedicated to providing sustainable and affordable permanent housing for honorably discharged U.S. military veterans. RH4H recently unveiled the project nestled within the historic Camp Shanks property.A historic site for veterans
Camp Shanks served as a crucial embarkation point for army troops during WWII, earning the moniker "Last Stop USA." The 2,000-acre camp was the largest embarkation site, processing 1.3 million personnel, including three-quarters of the troops who fought on D-Day.
Postwar, the camp was transformed into housing for veterans, supporting those with families in New York City through the GI Bill. Shanks Village closed in 1954 and was commemorated through a small museum in June 1994. The RH4H nonprofit acquired 15 acres in 2013, dedicating half to Orangetown and constructing eight affordable apartments for homeless veterans. RH4H inaugurated its first units in Tappan in November 2013, with plans to further expand the project using the abandoned buildings from the 1950s.
Redesigning for wellness and accessibility
Homes for Heroes II, certified in December 2023, emerges as a beacon of hope. It comprises 14 meticulously designed one-bedroom units tailored to accommodate individuals with disabilities. With a commitment to both veteran health and wellness and environmental responsibility, this $5.4 million development exemplifies RH4H's vision for creating resilient and supportive communities that honor the sacrifices of those who have served.
The RH4H initiative also sets a precedent for future developments prioritizing environmental responsibility and community well-being. Homes for Heroes II has a HERS Index of 41, signifying a 59% reduction in energy use compared to the 2006 energy code. The attainment of LEED residential certification under LEED v4.1 underscores the project's commitment to resilience, healthier materials, energy savings and overall value. With an all-electric design, the development eliminates fossil fuel usage, reducing carbon emissions.
Features such as highly insulated units, Energy Star windows, and efficient appliances contribute to the project's comprehensive energy efficiency. NYSERDA incentives amounting to $49,000 bolster the endeavor, while the integration of LED lighting, WaterSense fixtures, and energy recovery ventilators ensure both resource conservation and a health-conscious indoor environment.
- Walls: R-36 exterior wall assembly, interior walls: R-21 sound batt
- Windows: Energy Star windows with U-0.27 efficiency
- Envelope: Closed cell spray foam insulation
- Roof: R-49 roof insulation
- Slab: R-10, 4-foot depth
- Heating and cooling: Carrier high-efficiency air source heat pumps
- Ventilation: Panasonic FV-10VEC2, one per apartment
- Hot water: Bradford White RE2H50S
- Additional features: Energy Star washers and dryers, LED lighting throughout, noninvasive plantings
Sustainability and affordability in housing can go hand in hand, as Homes for Heroes II demonstrates. It stands as a beacon of hope for veterans and sets a high standard for future developments in the quest for sustainable and comfortable living environments.
Read more at U.S. Green Building Council
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