Sunflower Gardens is an affordable, multi-family supportive housing project built to the highest green standards. This four-building complex provides 18 affordable dwelling units as well as communal facilities and support services for 23 adults who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. The project earned a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Homes Platinum certification. LEED ratings, established by the U.S. Green Building Council, evaluate buildings for energy efficiency, water conservation, waste reduction, and indoor air quality using a ranking system that sets Platinum certification at the highest level.
WR&D collaborated with Interim, Inc., a Monterey County nonprofit organization that provides quality housing for people with psychiatric disabilities, on plans for this new housing development in Salinas. The initial design included the use of on-site renewable energy from an array of solar photovoltaic panels. As the project progressed, Interim expressed an interest in expanding their focus on green design by pursuing LEED certification. WR&D performed a feasibility study to determine the most appropriate rating system for the project. Sunflower Gardens is the first affordable, supportive housing project in Monterey County to achieve Platinum LEED for Homes certification.
Sunflower Gardens opened in June 2010 and is bringing needed services as well as opportunities for creative expression to its community. Through an arts program established for homeless adults via Breakthrough H'art, a client-run artists group funded by Interim Inc. and Dorothy's Place, a local soup kitchen and homeless shelter, artists met weekly for a year to create beautiful mosaic tile art pieces of sunflowers. These mosaics have been installed into the exterior walls of Sunflower Gardens.