Sustainable Design at Florence Mills Apartments

Florence Mills Apartments is an environmentally-forward and thoughtfully designed mixed-use affordable housing building located along E. Jefferson Blvd and S. Central Ave in the Central Avenue Historic District of South Los Angeles. The development was designed by Killefer Flammang Architecture (KFA), an award-winning and leading architecture firm in Los Angeles. Florence Mills Apartments will include seventy-four new apartments, with a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedrooms, approximately 5,000 square feet of commercial retail on the ground floor, community spaces for onsite resident services, and one level of subterranean parking. The apartment community will be home to fifty-four large low-income families and nineteen homeless veterans and families. Florence Mills Apartments aims to achieve PLATINUM LEED-certification, the highest level of sustainable design as granted by the LEED program. Creating a sustainable building was a primary goal for both HCHC and KFA. The architecture thoughtfully integrates design elements to both satisfy the needs of future residents, foster a sense of community, and reduce the environmental impact of the building.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a designation from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. For a project to receive LEED for Homes Certification, it must meet requirements in eight different environmental qualities:

  1. Sustainable Sites
  2. Water Efficiency
  3. Energy and Atmosphere
  4. Materials & Resources
  5. Indoor Environmental Quality
  6. Locations and Linkages
  7. Awareness and Education
  8. Innovation and Design

What does it mean to be LEED-certified?

LEED certified buildings save money and resources and have a positive impact on the health of occupants, while promoting renewable, clean energy.

Green Features at Florence Mills Apartments: 

In order to reduce its environmental impact, the Florence Mills Apartments incorporates various sustainable design elements, including drought tolerant landscaping, locally sourced materials, high-efficiency lighting and Energy Star appliances, and low flow fixtures (high-efficiency showers, toilets, and lavatory faucets) to moderate on-site water consumption. Native plantings are incorporated into the design to reduce water runoff and landscape irrigation. No turf was used in the landscaping, further conserving water usage. Water conservation efforts are also being promoted through building operations and resident education. Additional features include:

  • 60% of domestic water is heated with solar thermal, reducing gas use 
  • All low-flow showers, faucets and toilets, reducing water use
  • All appliances are ENERGY STAR to save on energy use
  • Landscaping is 0% conventional turf and over 90% drought tolerant plants
  • High-efficacy lighting
  • Fresh air: Air directly ventilated from unit to the outside, bathrooms include energy star bathroom fan to ventilate and keep mold away, and all units include carbon monoxide monitors
  • All low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints and sealants on all walls, trims, and moldings
  • Covered, secured bike parking provided onsite
  • Over 75% of construction waste was diverted from landfills and recycled
  • Conveniently located along the Central Avenue Historic District, the project is walking distance to several community amenities including public schools, two public parks, public transit routes and two grocery stores, which reduce car usage and encourage walking and bike trips. 

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