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How Rethinking Affordable Homes Connects with the Climate Fight

How Rethinking Affordable Homes Connects with the Climate Fight

First in a five-part series exploring the case for a Green New Deal for Housing.

Earlier this year, Vancouver city council approved a new downtown condo tower pitched as one of the greenest skyscrapers on the planet. It “will quickly become a blueprint for future towers in cities around the world,” said the architecture firm behind 1075 Nelson, a 60-story development in the West End that will be built to Passive House standards.

“The planet is on fire,” Rick Gregory, vice-president at Henson Developments, said of using ultra-efficient windows, insulation and ventilation systems resulting in much less energy requirements than a typical tower. “You’re either part of the solution or part of the problem.”

Because 25 per cent of the building’s floorspace will be set aside for social housing, Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart also portrayed 1075 Nelson as a step towards addressing the city’s dire affordability needs.

“We’re in a housing crisis, and this is a building on private land with private financing, and we’re still getting 102 social housing units,” Stewart said.

Just down the road from 1075 Nelson is another skyscraper competing for eco-bragging rights in what aims to be the world’s “Greenest City.” The “Butterfly” tower being built by Westbank boasts of “sustainability goals exceeding LEED Gold.”

But when Samuel Stein looks at luxury towers with the latest green technology, he doesn’t necessarily see progress on climate change. “It makes the problem worse as it claims to make it better,” the New York-based housing policy analyst and author of Capital City told The Tyee.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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