Faced with increasing demand for low-income housing, public housing authorities are finding that investing in green building solutions can make their homes more affordable and more livable.

Seattle Housing Authority, one of the nation's largest public housing agencies, has found a way to cut fuel consumption by 37 percent at a 120-acre redevelopment in West Seattle. Named High Point, the new pedestrian-friendly community features a mix of 1,700 low-income and market-rate properties, plus ample park space, a seniors' village, a neighborhood center, a new medical and dental clinic and a public library.

Tom Phillips, Seattle Housing Authority's senior development manager, says High Point has set a new standard in sustainable green building for housing authorities. "Our design team includes firms that are among the region's leaders in sustainable development, and who share Seattle Housing's passion for building a greener, more affordable and more livable community."

The community features an innovative natural drainage system and a host of energy-efficient and water conservation solutions, such as a Baxi Luna combination heating and domestic hot water wall-hung boiler in rental homes.

"Baxi Luna is an elegant, all-in-one, backpack-sized boiler with tankless hot water capabilities," says Matt Sullivan, the project manager of Mithum, a leader in reduced energy use. "It generates fuel-use savings while helping us to make the most of space limitations. It allows us to fit a stackable washer and dryer in the same closet as the combination central heating and domestic hot water boiler."

An independent study showed that High Point homes with Baxi units recorded total fuel savings of 37 percent. The report also noted that the inclusion of conservation technology, including the Baxi hydronic heating system, makes housing even more affordable as utility rates increase and public utilities and government agencies add new financial incentives for conservation.

Seattle Housing Authority also installed its first Baxi solar water heating system at High Point this spring and expects it will generate additional fuel and cost savings. The renewable energy system is backed up by the Baxi Luna 3 Comfort combination heating and domestic hot water boiler, which is capable of accepting pre-heated water from the solar storage tank.

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