TALK ABOUT A PROJECT THAT COVERS all the bases. Denny Park Apartments, a 50-unit, rent-restricted building in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood, is not only affordable, it's also one of the first projects to receive funding under the Enterprise Foundation's Green Communities initiative. Its sustainable features include rooftop planters that collect and filter rainwater before it passes into storm sewers; 50-year exterior materials with recycled content; central gas-fired domestic hot water and hydronic heating; low-VOC finishes; and an overall space-efficient design that takes advantage of the principles of passive heating and cooling. The project's sustainability carried through to the building process itself, with 90 percent of the construction debris being recycled.

Even the dynamic metal roof has environmental chops. Inspired by the light-industrial heritage of the neighborhood, its swooping form helps direct the collection of rainwater, which is stored in planters. The roof was fabricated from metal rather than composite shingles, so it doesn't add poisonous petrochemicals to the rain runoff. Another bonus: Pea-patch–style planters create a pleasant green space in the middle of an urban environment.

The residents of the studio ($236 to $544), one-bedroom ($402 to $732), two-bedroom ($485 to $904), and three-bedroom apartments ($563 to $1,079) would no doubt rave about some of the subtler design touches: Plenty of light, underground parking, and a computer lab are just a few of this project's amenities.


Award: Grand for best affordable project—30 du/ac or more; Builder: Rafn Co., Bellevue, Wash.; Developer: Low Income Housing Institute, Seattle; Architect: Runberg Architecture Group, Seattle

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Seattle, WA.