As an affordable housing development, the Rosa Parks Apartments needed to be economical to build and sustainable in long-term operation and maintenance. To achieve these goals, the designers chose a straightforward approach with a limited number of parts and as few complicated details as possible. It also was necessary that the project—an eight-building, 94-unit rental apartment development—be built quickly and securely.

The plan consisted of a system of 739 precast exterior load-bearing wall panels. These were filled with 5 1/2-inch, blown-in fiberglass insulation. Steel frame and metal panel bays that only touch the precast resulted in economical and sustainable structures.

Although all of the buildings are built to the same specifications, only the largest, a 27-unit, four-story elevator building, is in the process of being certified as LEED Silver. It includes solar thermal heat for domestic hot water and a geoexchange (geothermal) system with individual heat pumps.

View all of the 2011 GreenSite projects at