Location-efficient affordable housing is key to sustainability. Kalos, the Greek word for ‘beautiful,’ may be the name of an 83 unit affordable housing project in San Diego, California, but it also describes the ‘green’ car capacity the developer, Community HousingWorks, plans for the project as part of its pursuit of LEED platinum certification. We have partnered with Community HousingWorks for nearly nine years now and helped the organization green the Kalos project starting a few years ago. This partnership builds on Global Green’s leadership to advance the greening of affordable housing in the U.S. over the last 18 years.

What’s remarkable about the Kalos development is not just that it is LEED Platinum. It is the inclusion of sustainable transit options. Car-sharing innovator Car2Go will park two electric-powered SmartCars at electric car charging stations. For a $35 one-time fee, Kalos residents will then have the opportunity to access an on-site alternative to first, or second, car ownership. Given that California car ownership runs over $9,000 per year, transportation costs are the second highest monthly expense for low-income families after rent. Car2go’s SmartCars will dramatically expand transportation access for Kalos residents.

The two publicly accessible electric vehicle charging stations are incorporated into the alley entrance of the project. ECOtality, a leader in clean electric transportation and storage technologies, will provide the stations – and federal incentives will further reduce costs.

The leadership of Community HousingWorks, and other organizations who look at sustainability beyond the building envelope, is important to helping improve the environment and lives of low income families. The benefits are many: providing a public amenity in the rapidly gentrifying North Park neighborhood; integrating green, sustainable means of transportation in a low-income housing complex; providing more options for residents who need them; and, serving as an example of green, affordable housing development. Kalos it truly is.