Innovation and Design

Rittenhouse SRO


New Hope Housing, Inc.


Houston, TX

LEED Consultant:

Chip Henderson

Project Goal:

The Rittenhouse SRO continues New Hope’s commitment to build ‘green’ multifamily housing for our most vulnerable citizens. According to New Hope Board President Michael M. Fowler, “With each new development we move one step closer to New Hope’s goal of providing affordable, high-quality housing for about 1,000 adults in Houston.”


The Rittenhouse SRO project achieved its Goals through a project that focuses on keeping maintenance costs down while providing residents with a beautiful and dignified place to live.

The team exemplified the idea of Integrated Design through consistent Integrated Project Team meetings including a professional specifically experienced with LEED-Homes.

The project benefited from being located in an area with abundant community resources and transit opportunities which, in addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, allows its residents to travel freely throughout the city without the expense of a car.

The high density of building also contributed to the project's LEED success. High density living is not only "affordable," it is admirably "sustainable." The personal rooms are small, but adequate for single-occupancy living. Community areas such as computer rooms, a large community center, and outdoor courtyard, where many large mature trees were preserved during construction, are provided to give the residents the ample space and room for visitors.

Care was taken to only choose turf and plants that are drought tolerant, except for in the many rain gardens, infiltration features that reduce water runoff into the city storm system and also filter the water before it enters the ground water supply.

The project installed a high-efficiency irrigation system to reduce water costs and deliver point-source irrigation to plants. Coupled with their choice of drought-tolerant plants, the building's water costs for irrigation should be extremely low.

In addition to high-efficiency irrigation, the water fixtures throughout the building's bathrooms and laundry rooms are also extremely efficient. All faucets, shower heads, toilets and washing machines meet the lowest flow rates possible.

The project used pest control techniques that will reduce the need for toxic chemicals to be used to manage pests. Techniques such as sealing all cracks & joints in the framing, separating concrete from wood with dividers to prevent termite intrusion and treating cellulosic material with borate keep bugs out of the building without the need for chemical spraying. This is healthier for the environment and the occupants alike.

The project achieved Materials and Resources credits by using advanced framing, open-web floor trusses and reducing the amount of excess lumber purchased for the project through accurate drawings and detailed framing documents. Many of the products were locally-produced (within 500 miles), which reduces the amount of energy required to get the materials to the job site. All of the cabinets and doors were made from FSC-certified wood, which means that all wood came from sustainably-managed forests. 85% of the construction waste was diverted from the landfill through the use of a Construction & Demolition waste recycling program.

Indoor Air Quality is assured for the tenants of the Rittenhouse Project through the use of 3rd party-tested Energy Star-rated bathroom fans with occupancy sensors. Blower door testing was conducted to assure that air leakage between units was minimal.

Every tenant is walked through the features of the building and informed of the Green features of the building prior to signing a lease. This helps occupants understand how the building operates, and what they can do to ensure the continued low operations costs of the building.

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