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Foundation Communities is a 25 year old non-profit affordable housing developer based in Austin, TX. Their mission goes far beyond standard practices.

Every one of their developments is designed to be integrated into the wider community and provides a range of services to ensure that ‘families can succeed’. Foundation Communities positions education and healthy living at the core of their developments. They make learning centers part of every multi-family development providing day care facilities, after-school activities as well as adult classes, and community workshops providing information about healthier home cleaning and building maintenance practices. Notions of health here include access to well-designed housing, easy access to transportation and a long-term commitment to designing healthier interiors. The Learning Centers are at the center of each housing development and are primarily used by children who are most vulnerable to the impact of their environment.

Green building strategies have been used as a baseline approach for Foundation Communities' development.

They have pursued the Enterprise Green Communities certification since its inception in 2003, and continue to pursue LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum criteria for all buildings. They are also exploring new standards, including the Living Building Challenge (LBC), a performance standard that includes a commitment to using healthier materials. They are using the Learning Center building as a pilot to test healthier building products using this certification. The learnings from such an endeavor can potentially be scaled up and incorporated in their future housing developments.

In order to ensure ongoing interior air quality and the functioning of the integrated green initiatives into the occupancy phase of their development, FC reaches out to the maintenance team and residents by providing workshops with a focus on energy efficiency practices, on-site recycling, and community gardening. Their dedication to health, financial stability, and green education encourage residents to conserve energy, use homemade cleaning products, and consider less toxic interior furnishings, to maintain indoor air quality.

Read this case study or download the PDF to the right of this page.

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