The Canal & Main Apartments/Brattleboro Food Cooperative development was one of two projects to receive the 2015 HUD Secretary’s Housing and Community Design Award for excellence in affordable housing design.
HUD and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) selected Step Up on 5th in Santa Monica, California; and Brattleboro’s Canal & Main development as national affordable housing models.
“Affordable housing represents a gateway to greater opportunity. These two projects are a powerful reminder that bold vision and innovative design can shape communities of promise,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “I congratulate these winners on their achievements and I’m proud to honor them for their commitment to inclusive development.”
The Brattleboro Food Co-op, Windham & Windsor Housing Trust and Housing Vermont partnered to redevelop a site in downtown Brattleboro. The scope of the project included the demolition of the obsolete Brattleboro Food Co-op building and the construction of a four-story, highly energy-efficient, green building. The attractive new building provides 33,600 square feet of retail and office space for the Co-op on the first two floors and 24 affordable apartments in the top two floors.
Gossens Bachman Architects designed the innovative building. The award recognized the “building is a model of energy efficiency, using both conventional and innovative systems, such as heating the entire building with reclaimed waste heat from the store refrigeration system. The collaborative design process was a critical factor in making the project a model for responsible building practice and smart growth.”
The site, previously contaminated by a dry cleaning facility, was cleaned up. The building was moved away from the nearby brook to protect the water from pollution and the building from flooding. Storm water runoff is treated and filtered by a green roof, permeable surfaces in the parking lot, and a 20-foot buffer strip in the new public park created along the Whetstone Brook. Recycled heat generated by the Co-op’s refrigerators heats the store and the apartments and provides hot water.
Construction materials included locally harvested and milled flooring and slate siding manufactured in Vermont. The apartments have continuous fresh air ventilation with heat recovery and the Co-op uses a solar photovoltaic system to generate electricity. These features have cut per-square-foot energy costs by approximately 50 percent, which helps keep the apartments affordable and saves 21 tons of CO2 emissions a year.