Villa Montgomery's rooftop solar panels.

First Community Housing’s affordable developments feature award-winning architecture and innovative sustainable design elements.  All of its properties are located  in transit-rich neighborhoods and include many recognized green features.  FCH has pioneered the development of sustainable, energy efficient designs that maximize the use of green building materials. To learn more about FCH's properties and features click on the links to the right or the tabs below.

To view a list of all FCH’s current and planned properties click here.

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Casa Feliz Studio's Living Roof is capable of retaining 80% of stormwater.
Casa Feliz Property

First Community Housing’s LEED NC GOLD certified Casa Feliz Studios is located in San Jose, California. FCH replaced an aging single-room occupancy (SRO) development with shared bathrooms with 60 affordable SRO units with private bathrooms and increased on-site parking. The 4-story, 25,000 square foot building includes 5,375 square feet of living roof space designed to maximize storm water retention. During the preliminary design of Casa Feliz, FCH was confronted with a requirement to replace and upgrade the existing storm sewer to a 100-year flood capacity at a cost of approximately $300,000.  FCH worked with Rana Creek Living Architecture to engineer the living roofs, which are capable of retaining up to 80% of stormwater. FCH was then able to replace the sewer with a 10-year event pipe.

The property also uses drought-tolerant native plants, appropriate for San Jose's climate, to insure that no water will be needed for irrigation once the plants are established. In addition, organically grown plants and a pesticide-free growing medium protect the quality of any water that percolates into the site or drains into the public stormwater system. The two largest sections of the living roof, one of which is shaded beneath a 16-kilowatt photovoltaic array, are planted with a mixture of annual and perennial grasses and wildflower species that are designed to attract insects, birds, butterflies, and other wildlife.

Other development highlights include:

  • On-site supportive services provider serving special-needs residents
  • On-site manager and maintenance person
  • Exceeding energy-efficiency requirements by 12%
  • Energy-efficient windows and extensive use of green building materials
  • Laundry facility
  • Community room
  • Lounge and computer lab with internet access
  • Eco Passes for all residents for free public transportation
  • Adjacent to bus line

Casa Feliz is a showcase of excellence for its design, creative funding strategies, asset and property management, green features, energy efficiency, the encouragement of mass transit, resident services, and amenities. This project demonstrates how a developer can incorporate green features into its projects and do so within the context of constrained funding and regulatory limitations in a way that will help lead to market acceptance of green building as the standard for affordable housing. Additionally, as San Jose’s first new development with a living roof, Casa Feliz provides an important model. Lessons learned from Casa Feliz will be incorporated into future projects and can be used as a guideline for others who wish to build green affordable housing.

Murphy Ranch's PV carport.
Murphy Ranch Property

Murphy Ranch Family Townhomes in Morgan Hill, California provide 100 affordable family townhomes on approximately 7.2 acres of land. The townhomes, arranged in 4 and 5-plexes, feature a transit stop at their entry and are a two block walk from the CalTrans Station. Other property features include a solar heated swimming pool, solar heated showers, a recreation building, and photovoltaic panels on the carports.  These solar panels supply 95% of the building’s recreation and common area electricity needs.  The development exceeds California’s Title 24 Energy Requirements by 25%.A few of Murphy Ranch Townhomes’ innovative green construction and finishing products include the following:

  • ENERGY STAR appliances (gas)
  • Fluorescent lighting
  • Low-flow water fixtures
  • Low water landscaping
  • Hydronic Heating which uses the hot water heater for space heating, saving space and cost
  • Recycled content carpeting that includes 78% or greater recycled content
  • Double-glazed windows and doors
  • Formaldehyde-free blown-in cellulose insulation
  • Recycled content interior trim and baseboards
  • Engineered structural lumber which is stronger than lumber, but uses less wood
  • Solar electric generation for common areas
  • Hardiboard fiber-cement siding
  • Free Eco Passes for all residents
  • Baltix office furniture made of wheat fiber and/or sunflower hulls making use of agricultural by-products
  • Sustainably harvested, FSC-certified Beech hardwood floor in community center

Aerial view of Gish Apartments.
Gish Apartments

Gish Apartments in San Jose are located right at the Gish Light Rail stop and are comprised of 35 family apartments that will remain at affordable rents for a period of 55 years. Thirty-five percent of these units are set aside for residents with developmental disabilities.  Along with numerous awards, the Gish Apartments is the first multi-family housing development in California to earn LEED for Homes Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, and the ONLY building in America that is LEED for Homes and LEED NC 2.1 Gold certified.The Architect for the development is OJK ARCHITECTURE AND PLANNING, AIA,an architectural firm that designed this mixed-use building to enhance the existing neighborhood. Sustainable developmental highlights for Gish Apartments include:

  • Energy-efficient windows
  • Energy Star appliances
  • Low-flow water fixtures
  • Photovoltaic electricity generation for common area use
  • Linoleum and recycled content carpet
  • No VOC/no formaldehyde cabinets
  • Low emitting paints, adhesives, sealants
  • Non-formaldehyde batt insulation
  • Recycled content interior trim and baseboard
  • Recycled content metal siding
  • Engineered structural lumber
  • Sustainable harvest teak site benches and lobby furniture
  • Reflective roof to reduce urban heat island effect
  • Brownfield cleanup site
  • Eco Passes for all residents providing free public transportation
  • Adjacent to bus and light rail
  • On-site parking for residents