Rio Vista Apartments | U.S. Green Building Council
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LEED BD+C: Multifamily Midrise v3 - LEED 2008

Rio Vista Apartments

LEED Platinum 2012

The project represents unprecedented collaboration between the affordable housing developer and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), who worked tirelessly over a four-year period to align housing and education objectives, and to achieve regulatory requirements for each use.


Congratulations to Abode Communities, Rio Vista Apartments as the recipient of the 2012 LEED for Homes award for Outstanding Affordable Project.


Rio Vista Apartments is the first development in Los Angeles County to co-locate affordable housing with an educational component owned and operated by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) on the District’s surplus land.

The LEED Platinum apartments, located on a compact site in the heart of Glassell Park, transform a vacant parking lot into a model joint-use development that addresses the needs of 50 low-income families (earning between 30% and 60% area median income) through effective programming and creative public/private financing. This dense infill micro-community serves as a hub within walking distance of a park, public transit, basic amenities, and most importantly, LAUSD’s Early Education Center and Glassell Park Elementary School.

The project represents an unprecedented collaboration between Abode Communities and LAUSD, who worked tirelessly over a four-year period to align housing and education objectives, and to achieve regulatory requirements for each use. The result was a 66-year ground lease to Abode Communities by LAUSD, which provided the developer a competitive edge for tax credit financing. Ongoing collaboration is evident through the use of planned shared spaces, which include a community center and parking structure with the residential component, as well as an outdoor playground and classroom at LAUSD’s Early Education Center.

Abode Communities scored the full 10 LEED points for Location & Linkages, as the site is a high-density infill, a former brownfield with existing infrastructure, and within access to outstanding community resources. In addition to the sustainable measures taken to link this affordable housing development to LAUSD’s Early Education Center and basic services, energy efficiency at Rio Vista Apartments exceeds California State Title 24 requirements by 40%. A large photovoltaic system offsets 50% common area electricity demand; a solar thermal system preheats water to reduce natural gas consumption; landscape irrigation utilizes municipal recycled water (LADWP’s Purple Pipe); an edible garden sits atop the roof; and a central trellised courtyard provides a shaded outdoor space to reduce the heat island effect.

Other innovative sustainable measures include ongoing monitoring of utilities through WegoWise, a performance evaluation software, as well as the distribution and review of a Sustainable Living Guide for residents. These guides include information about proper maintenance of the apartments’ sustainable features, general green living tips and a contact list of neighboring basic services.

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Project details
New Construction - Affordable Multi-family
18 Jan 2012