Villa Alegre Family & Senior Housing - LEED for Homes Platinum, Santa Fe, NM

Developer – Santa Fe Civic Housing Authority
Contractor – Pavilion Construction


Santa Fe Civic Housing Authority completed the first 111 affordable LEED for Homes units in the Santa Fe area – Villa Alegre Phase 1 and 2. The project broke ground in June of 2010 and achieved platinum certification in November of 2012.  The project is a single family attached (townhouse) project consisting of numerous one and two story buildings that have between 2 and 6 units in each building. Phase one of the project consists of 60 Family units plus a community center and Phase two consists of 50 Senior housing units, one Caretakers unit plus a community center.

 “After reviewing the ARRA grant requirements and modifications made by the Development team we found value in LEED certification as it related to transforming our plans into the greenest and most sustainable project possible within our budget.  LEED gave us better plans, better processes and better quality at minimal additional costs to the project” Ed Romero, Executive Director, of the housing authority. 

Villa Alegre is located at 851 and 871 West Alameda Street less than ¾ of a mile from the Santa Fe Plaza a national historical landmark (National Register of Historic Places). This infill project had to adhere to historic district requirements to preserve the City’s cultural and historical significance.Duty & Germanas Architecture strived to integrate the project into the historical neighborhood fabric and build harmony with the community.

Also high on the architects list of goals was quality units (especially within the Low Income Housingstandard) and maximizing housing opportunities in the Santa Fe historic downtown area. The project team succeeded in making 97 of the 111 units affordable. Mike Duty states; “We wanted everyone to have a ground floor experience through entry portals and backyard courts.  Also, it was important for everyone to have a visual and physical connection to the landscaped Common Spaces.  This does not occur on many Housing Projects”.

The project focuses heavily on reducing energy use by incorporating a geothermal exchange system with ground source heat pumps and a 240 kW photovoltaic system.  The units also features energy star windows, high efficiency lighting fixtures, compact fluorescent bulbs and high density, blown insulation.  Other energy efficiency upgrades include instantaneous water heaters, programmable thermostats, high efficiency furnaces and air conditioners, as well as mechanical ventilation to enhance the indoor air quality. As a result of incorporating energy saving products and technologies, all of the units in this project have achieved a 42 or better Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index score, will be ENERGY STAR® qualified and many units will exceed the 2030 Challenge, visit

It was important to the project team and the community to have a water efficient project. Villa Alegre is located in the arid high desert of New Mexico and only receives an average of 14 inches of rain a year. The project team focused on reducing the use of water on the project and achieved a 61% indoor water savings and approximately a 65% exterior water savings (design projection).

The Senior side of the project scored an impressive Walk Score of 86 (Family side 78). There are 286 amenities within a one mile radius. These amenities range from public transportation, DeVargas Mall, museums and the Santa Fe Plaza.  The plaza was the original center of town and still is the “heart of Santa Fe”. The plaza has numerous annual events such as Spanish & Santa Fe Indian Markets, Fiestas de Santa Fe, and Santa Fe Bandstand. The project started as a demolition/disposition of 104 public housing units that were deemed insufficient to bring up to current building standards.

Indoor water use in this project will be very high efficient fixtures and fittings using only 1.75 gpm shower heads, 1.5 gpm faucets and toilets that flush using only 1.1 gpf. This project will also achieve an exemplary performance credit for the extremely efficient irrigation system. This project should be over 45% more interior water efficient and over 60% more ex. The interior water efficiency of this project should be over 45% more efficient and the exterior water efficiency should be over 60% more efficient than a code project.

Low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint, adhesive and sealants, finger-jointed  studs and 30% flyash content in the concrete are some of the environmentally appropriate building products.More than 75% of the materials in the project contributed to the LEED certification.

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