Launching our sustainABLEhouse Initiative

Watch for future posts about sustainABLEhouse.

In 2006 we convened a conversation about housing in Dallas and challenged the current thinking to engage design as the tool to bring about methods and solutions addressing equity in our city. The title of those conversations was sustainABLEhouse.

bcFELLOW Jesse Miller  surveys potentials lots with client.

bcFELLOW Jesse Miller surveys potentials lots with client.

Echoing that great dialogue, we have created under the same name an effort to provide design services to any family that wants to build and own an affordable and efficient home within the central neighborhoods of Dallas.  This work is defined by the financial interests of the family with bcWORKSHOP willing to take on any budget no matter how modest. sustainABLEhouse is an effort engaging families normally outside traditional ownership choices in our city. While upfront budgets drive the program, we will not stop there.  Specific consideration will be directed toward the life-cycle costing of the home with design crafting a durable and energy efficient house supporting the financial interests of the family.

This work is in direct response to the estimated 30,000 plus affordable homes that are still needed in Dallas (Mayor’s Task Force on Affordable Housing). The success of sustainABLEhouse is not marked solely on affordability; rather, it is driven by a set of principles specific to Dallas: enhance neighborhood vitality; practice environmental sustainability; increase market capacity of affordable housing; influence perceptions and practices of affordable housing; promote intelligent and informed financing; and design for beauty, scale, and adaptability. The design of each sustainABLEhouse is a participatory process with the client and their neighborhood ensuring needs and opportunities are being identified and addressed.

The role of bcWORKSHOP at the beginning of a sustainABLEhouse is to work with the client to define and agree on the tasks that need to be completed, when they need to be completed, and who will take on the necessary responsibilities. Early tasks include selecting a property, which bcWORKSHOP and the client work on together, and securing financing, which the client is responsible for. bcWORKSHOP and the client continue the process well after the home is completed by participating in home performance testing.

Infographic that demonstrates the design process.

Infographic that demonstrates the design process.