Housing and the Environment

For more information, check out HDC’s blog for our Housing, Equity, and the Environment series.

“Affordable Housing and Environmental Justice are Sibling Movements”

Our membership is proud to live in the vibrant Pacific North West with its flourishing cities and beautiful nature, and they work hard to promote environmentally conscious affordability to sustain both of those. Often environmental concerns and urban development are portrayed as contentious and diverging interests. However, true smart growth is more affordable in the long term and affordability helps preserve the environment. Increasing density through upzoning decreases urban sprawl, and transit oriented development allows people to live and work in the same city decreasing commute related emissions. Green buildings save residents on utilities and result in a higher quality of living. Our members are on the cutting edge of sustainable development, directly confronting the tension between balancing up front cost of green building and creating durable homes as permanent affordable assets to our communities. Check out the Sustainable Building Initiatives of our members!

On this page you will find research on the benefits of smart buildings, the positive impacts for the environment from TOD and affordable housing development, and current programs operating in the area.


Smart Growth and Affordable Housing: a Partnership for Success (Sierra Club)
Saving Green: Environmental Sustainability and Affordability… (Stanford)
Sustainable Affordable Housing: Saving Energy, Saving Lives (EESI)
Environmentally Sustainable Affordable Housing (ULI)
Smart Growth and Affordable Housing (EPA)

KCHA Sustainability
reen Community Initiative (King County)
Seattle Housing Green Practices
Emerald Cities Collaborative

Moving Forward:

  • Create space for dialogues that show the integration and symbiosis of environmental protection and affordable housing development.
  • Advocate for policies that increase requirements for sustainability that is affordable
  • Help fund sustainable affordable developments