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PATH Blazing

Green Design Meets Affordable Housing through Innovative New Program

With $555 million in funding for five years, Green Communities aims to build more than 8,500 homes, and in doing so, change the way that Americans think about affordable housing. It is accomplishing this by providing incentives such as grants, financing, tax-credit equity, and technical assistance to builders to create earth-friendly, affordable homes. Builders who are chosen for these projects must demonstrate that their buildings conserve energy and natural resources and provide easy access to jobs, schools, and services.

Houses built by Green Communities aim to be less taxing on the planet, taking advantage of the natural resources specific to each site. Many of them are constructed with non-toxic materials such as recycled finger-jointed framing studs, water-based natural paints, non-formaldehyde wheat-based plywood, and recycled cotton insulation. Others are built on an east-west axis to maximize passive heat gain from the sun. Some are designed to channel rainwater from roofs to a holding tank for irrigation. PATH-recommended technologies that appear in these projects include fiber-cement siding and energy-efficient lighting controls.

Green Communities also offers training courses to developers interested in incorporating sustainable building practices into their projects. Topics include energy efficiency, environmentally friendly building materials, water conservation, and more.

For more information about Green Communities, visit them online at

Content updated on 1/4/2006

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