Casa Dominguez, a new mixed-use, affordable development built with neighborhood transformation in mind, has just been awarded LEED for Homes platinum certification.

Casa Dominguez Garners LEED for Homes Platinum
photo credit: Jeromy Roberts

It is the first multifamily housing in Los Angeles County to achieve such distinction. (It is also the sixth LEED for Homes certified platinum multifamily project in California, the 13th for affordable multifamily developments in the U.S. and the 20th for multifamily projects in general in the country.)

�There is such a minuscule number of projects of this nature in the entire world to receive such recognition as LEED platinum status. This is a monumental achievement,� says Lance A. Williams, executive director of USGBC, Los Angeles Chapter. Fewer than 90 projects internationally have received this certification, according to Williams.

Situated within a redevelopment area of Los Angeles County, Casa Dominguez is a project of Abode Communities, a nonprofit real estate developer and architecture firm known for building sustainable, multifamily affordable housing communities that address the needs of Southern California�s large workforce, low-income families, seniors and individuals with special needs.

�Knowing a healthy environment is a vital factor in physical, mental and social development, especially among children, Abode Communities has incorporated several green features in Casa Dominguez�s facilities,� says Robin Hughes, president of Abode Communities.

The landscape is irrigated using the first commercial graywater irrigation system in Los Angeles, alleviating the demand for precious fresh water especially during droughts. An 84.87 kW (DC) Solar Energy System provides for 100% of the community's energy needs in common areas. Abode Communities has also installed ENERGY STAR appliances in all apartments, high efficiency-low emissivity windows and California-friendly landscaping. Residents can also keep tabs on their energy consumption using the video monitor in the community room detailing the property�s energy usage.

Abode Communities says it also initiated a holistic program with information on green living, seminars on energy uses and tutorials on energy-efficient appliances to be made available to Casa Dominguez residents.

Rents range from $396 to $1,279 per month for one- to four-bedroom apartments, as compared to market rents in the area ($916 to $1,800). Residents earn half or less than the area median income for a family of four, or $39,650 per year.

�Never before has there been an affordable housing development that includes a health clinic, daycare and secure, permanent housing for transition-aged youth, in a LEED-certified, energy efficient building,� says Sean Rogan, executive director for the Los Angeles Community Development Commission.

The Children�s Collective, a high-quality pre-school, provides on-site day care options and after school programs. St. John�s Well Child and Family Center answer medical, dental and mental health needs of the uninsured and economically disadvantaged. Abode Communities also employs a full-time resident services coordinator and computer lab instructor for after-school tutoring, college preparatory courses, career counseling, computer training, and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes.

�Casa Dominguez isn�t just bricks and mortar. It is a change in the way the community sees itself,� adds Abode�s Hughes. �By giving residents well-designed, healthy and sustainable places to live and following through with programs to address their needs, we are in effect revitalizing a neighborhood, paving the way for progressive positive physical, social and economic change-not just within Casa Dominguez, but even beyond its gates.�

In addition to Benchmark Contractors, Inc., key consultants at Casa Dominguez include green building consultant Global Green, energy consultant Alternative Energy Systems, construction manager J. S. Egan Design, MEP Engineer Khalifeh & Associates, structural engineer Ming Yang Ye & Associates, civil engineer Coorey Engineering, gray water consultant ReWater, solar provider Solarcity and landscape architect Katherine Spitz Associates, Inc.