Environmentalists, City Officials Tout New Green Homes

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The man who heads a coalition of local environmental groups says if you’re looking for the greenest place to live in Downtown Sacramento…this is it. 

"9onF is the model as far as we’re concerned. It really is.”  
Graham Brownstein is the Executive Director of the Environmental Council of Sacramento or ECOS.

The name “9onF” refers to nine new housing units located on F Street, near 15th. It’s in Sacramento’s Alkali Flats neighborhood…six blocks north of the State Capitol Building.

Brownstein says the project incorporates both energy efficiency and smart growth.   

"If this was the way we were doing growth in this region, we would have nothing to sue people about." 

"This is the kind of project that we want to see more of." 

Bob Chase is the city’s Chief Building Official. He says there are other good examples of smart growth in Downtown Sacramento…like the recently built apartments at 18th and L Streets…and the new condos right across the street from them. But Chase says 9onF is unique. 

"Not everyone wants to live in a mid high rise condominium so this project is offering that closer to the ground alternative." 

The 9onF homes are LEED-certified which means they meet energy-efficient codes required by the US Green Building Council.

Jeremy Drucker is 9onF’s developer. He takes me through the garage of one of the loft-style homes to check out the solar panels on the roof. 

"The garage door has an opaque glass in it which both looks great but also we were just in the garage with that door down, plenty of light, you don’t need to flip on the switch."    

Drucker’s three-story homes are around 1,400 square feet. They all feature geothermal heating and cooling systems. The result? A $16.74 SMUD bill in February…one of the coldest months of the year. The downside? The eco-friendly features mean a higher price tag. Drucker’s home sell for around $495,000…that’s about $100,000 more than similar sized units. 

Graham Brownstein with ECOS says local governments should do more to encourage affordable infill developments. 

"I do not think that their zoning codes have yet fully caught up with the shift that’s happening in this marketplace." 

Brownstein says giving developers more incentives to build eco-friendly infill housing near job centers rather than paving over green fields will help reverse urban sprawl and ultimately help the environment. SOC