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Casa Feliz is located at 525 South 9th Street, San Jose, California 95112. Learn more about First Community Housing at their website, see their profile for Casa Feliz Studios SRO here, and visit the Casa Feliz Apartments website here. Read the profile from Rob Quigley Architect and the Home Depot Foundation 2008 Awards of Excellence Affordable Housing Built Responsibly Case Study. Read Linda Velazquez’ October 1, 2011 Sky Gardens Blog post GPW: Casa Feliz Studios. included Casa Feliz Studios in their 2009 Top 10 List of Hot Design Trends in the #3 category, Healthy, Efficient & Affordable Green Housing – click here to see the 2009 PowerPoint. For more information regarding this project, please contact Jeff Oberdorfer, Executive Director of First Community Housing at: 408.291.8650 x19 or Learn about the following companies in The Greenroof Directory: Tremco; Intrinsic Landscaping.

Casa Feliz is an affordable housing project in San Jose that is USGBC LEED NC Gold certified. The project is the brainchild of First Community Housing, a San Jose affordable housing developer known for its innovative green-building practices. Analysis of Casa Feliz indicates the greenroof will actually cost less long-term than installing off-site stormwater-management improvements that would have been required otherwise by the City. “Located on a tight 0.34-acre infill site near downtown San Jose, California, Casa Feliz Studios provides 60 units of high-quality affordable housing for extremely low-income tenants. Thirty-five percent of the studios are set aside for tenants living with developmental disabilities.”

There are five distinct living roof areas at Casa Feliz, totaling 5,375 square feet. Two top-floor living roofs, one of which is planted beneath a 16-kilowatt photovoltaic array, are planted with a mixture of annual and perennial grasses and wildflower species that will not require irrigation once established. The all native plantings are designed to attract insects, birds and butterflies, including the Bay Checkerspot, an endangered butterfly native to the area.

“During preliminary design of this 4-story, 25,000 square foot building, local developer First Community Housing was confronted with a requirement to replace and upgrade the existing public storm sewer to a 100-year flood capacity at a cost of approximately $300,000. Seeking a more sustainable and less costly solution, the project team worked with Rana Creek Living Architecture to design an integrated system of living roofs and at-grade bioswales capable of retaining up to 80% of stormwater on site, such that only a new 10-year event pipe would be required for the storm sewer,” (First Community Housing, see below)

The Tremco biodegradable modular greenroof system, BioTray™, was developed by Paul Kephart of Rana Creek and Kurt Horvath of Intrinsic Landscaping. The plants were propagated and transported to the site in coconut coir baskets. Once installed on the building’s lower-level roofs, these biotrays provided immediate erosion control and thermal resistance.


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