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Eco-Friendly Assisted Living Home

Cypresswood Estates in Houston, Texas is the first LEED Platinum certified green housing facility for seniors in the country. The 88-unit retirement community, made for people ages 55 and older, boasts sustainable features like saltwater pools, solar panels, rainwater collection for landscaping use, recycled concrete walkways, and highly renewable wood used in the cabinets. While it’s widely believed that eco-friendly construction comes at a higher cost, the savings gained from the way the facility operates (lower electric and water bills, etc.) mean the extra initial spending will be nullified soon enough.

Houston County Housing Authority Executive Director Guy Rankin says the complex cost $14.7 million to build, but because the funding came from a mix of public and private investors, rent remains affordable. He explained that some units are available for as little as $380 per month, but they continue on up to $1275 monthly rent. Residents on fixed incomes can often easily afford to live in the complex-something many of them never expected. Cypresswood resident Mary Cranford said, “I would not have believed that I could afford something like this. [...] Not in my lifetime.” Her income is mostly comprised of Social Security checks.

The Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, Saul Ramirez, hopes that this single facility inspires the construction of others like it across the country:

“[T]his is a launching point, a model for the rest of the nation to follow. [...] [W]hen I go back to Washington this afternoon, I can return with another example of how housing and development industries are leading the way for this nation’s recovery.”

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