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South Norwalk apartment building receives national recognition for sustainability

A woman walks past newly renovated units in the Colonial Village public housing complex in Norwalk.
FILE: Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public
A woman walks up the stairs to a newly renovated unit in the Colonial Village public housing complex in Norwalk.

South Norwalk was previously home to the state’s oldest public housing complex, Washington Village. The site is now home to Soundview Landing, nearly 300 units of public apartments that have received national recognition for their environmental sustainability.

When redeveloping Washington Village into Soundview Landing, a process that took more than five years, project developers planned out the apartments with the intention to apply for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Neighborhood Development certification (LEED-ND), developer Michael Lozano said.

“One of the biggest aspects, the most successful aspects, and one of the most unique aspects is the climate resiliency that went into this project,” Lozano said. “Both into the housing component, the buildings themselves, but also into the infrastructure around it, and Ryan Park across the street.”

Residents reap the benefits of the buildings’ sustainability, with lower utility bills, easier access to downtown areas and less reliance on the use of cars.

The complex’s sustainability features include its proximity to public transit, infrastructure to prevent flooding and the revamping of a public park across the street.

As part of the development’s construction and sustainability, roads leading into the complex were lifted about six feet to prevent stormwater flooding common in South Norwalk.

“The buildings themselves are super environmentally friendly,” Lozano said. “They have very high tech sort of enclosure systems, like lots of insulation, the heating and air conditioning systems are as efficient as you can get. We utilize all environmentally friendly materials.”

Completed in 2021, Norwalk Housing Authority submitted the development for a LEED-ND certification in April 2022, according to Authority Executive Director Adam Bovilsky.

LEED-ND is administered by the national nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council and is considered a high standardby the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The project’s goal, besides providing affordable and quality housing for Norwalk residents, is to make sure the apartment building doesn’t exacerbate existing climate change, Bovilsky said.

“Yeah, the certification is wonderful, but what's even better is that we're starting to think about and develop in ways that are sustainable, and that are better for the environment, because it's walkable, the infrastructure and stormwater management is well thought out,” Bovilsky said.

The income requirements for each apartment are spread throughout the building, so the extremely low income units aren’t grouped.

While construction was completed in 2021, the certification was awarded over the summer and announced this month.

Abigail is Connecticut Public's housing reporter, covering statewide housing developments and issues, with an emphasis on Fairfield County communities. She received her master's from Columbia University in 2020 and graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2019. Abigail previously covered statewide transportation and the city of Norwalk for Hearst Connecticut Media. She loves all things Disney and cats.

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