Unbelievably Green Housing Developments

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These five sustainable housing developments show that the most sensible way to go green is to go together.

The HardiePanel siding on the adjacent 100K and 120K houses is a dramatic break from East Kensington’s mostly brick facades. The simple, well insulated box and the absence of a third floor keep each house affordable, sustainable, and within the reach of young families. Photo  of Unbelievably Green Housing Developments modern home

As sustainable as they are affordable, these three LEED Platinum housing units in Philadelphia were all priced at under $300,000.

Modern home with Outdoor, Trees, Back Yard, Shrubs, and Small Patio, Porch, Deck. Auburn 7 developer and resident Michael Kyle hangs with his dog Moxy in the front yard of the unit owned by his codeveloper Todd Wexman; he is joined by residents Francisco, Camille, and young Sophia Apple Owens. Photo  of Unbelievably Green Housing Developments

When the developers of Los Angeles' Auburn 7 housing complex broke ground in 2007, they weren't sure whether people would pay a premium for eco-friendly amenities. Today, many of the complex's features, including radiant heating in the floor, tankless water heaters, low-flush toilets, and Energy Star kitchen appliances, are standards in green design.

GreenCity Lofts exceeds California Title 24 energy requirements by 15 percent. Photo  of Unbelievably Green Housing Developments modern home

While the 62-unit GreenCity Lofts in Oakland fell narrowly short of LEED Platinum certification, it does exceed California's rigorous sustainability standards by 15 percent. A few more impressive stats: the project's steel superstructure was built from 90 percent postconsumer recycled content, and 95 percent of the demolition waste from the construction was recycled.

Millennium City is an experiment in sustainable living created by Japanese architect Hiroshi Iguchi. The buildings, shown in the photo above, utilize natural light by using floor-to-ceiling windows as walls. Inhabitants of the commune use the space as a way to escape from the hustle of nearby Tokyo. Photo by Alessio Guarino. Photo  of Unbelievably Green Housing Developments modern home

At Millenium City, a Japanese utopian community consisting of four residential greenhouses, trees help monitor the interior temperatures and solar panels made from plastic bottles provide heat for the water.

Weathered wood tempers the gray stucco siding and provides a pleasant refuge in the community garden space. Photo  of Unbelievably Green Housing Developments modern home

In torrid Houston, going green is all about cutting cooling costs. The Shade House Development masters efficient climate control thanks to Cool Tone shingles and cleverly placed air conditioning units, which the architects say are a necessary evil during the summer months.