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A new development by Gulf Coast Housing Partnership (GCHP) in Louisiana’s Lafourche Parish will not only provide 35 mixed-income housing units, but it also will serve as a prototype for green, storm-resilient, and durable building in communities at risk of flooding.

“The project was a great opportunity to not only meet the needs of the community for affordable housing, but also to internally think really creatively and hard at the outset of what we were going to put into the building,” says Will Bowling, GCHP project manager. “This project fits into a bigger puzzle of how we continue to live with water and storm events as we move forward.”

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Les Maisons de Bayou Lafourche, located in Lockport, is a result of Louisiana’s Strategic Adaptations for the Future Environments initiative funded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As part of that, Louisiana Housing Corp. and the Office of Community Development awarded $7 million in Community Development Block Grant-National Disaster Resilience funds to GCHP to create the $10.9 million resilient, affordable housing development in the northern parish area where future flood risk is expected to remain low.

The development team looked to create a high-performance building in a hot and humid climate to meet its goals. Walls are constructed with 2-by-6 plates and staggered 2-by-4 studs to virtually eliminate thermal bridging, and blow-in fiberglass insulation in the walls and open cell foam in the attic create a well-insulated envelope. Other resilient and sustainable features include central dehumidification; impact-rated windows and doors; native plants, swales, and a large retention pond to capture rainwater; Energy Star appliances and metal roofs; and flood-proofing, such as raised concrete foundations, paperless drywall, and tile flooring.

Bowling says he anticipates the energy-efficient development will receive a HERS score in the low 50s, nearly a 50% reduction in energy use over a typical new construction project of similar size. It also will pursue Enterprise Green Communities certification and Fortified Gold designation for storm resilient construction.

Les Maisons de Bayou Lafourche will provide one- to three-bedroom units for households earning between 50% of the area median income and market rates. The first units are expected to come online in August, with the remainder by the end of the year.