On Earth Day 2012, the Paisano Green Senior Housing Community opened as the United States' first net-zero energy housing project. This 73-unit senior citizen housing complex located in El Paso, Texas, produces all its energy on site and burns no fossil fuels, eliminating electric bills for its residents. The housing community offers a safe and healthy environment for senior citizens while using the most advanced green technology. To encourage interactions among the residents, architects designed the complex with various communal spaces, such as a scenic central garden and a community building for organized activities.
Lighting designer David Roederer of Clanton and Associates needed a lighting solution that would be consistent with the high environmental and visual standards of the housing project. He chose a Color Kinetics LED lighting system because of its low power use and color-changing capabilities. Having used Color Kinetics products successfully in the past, Roederer knew it was the right solution for his design.
Roederer used the LED luminaires on the Canopy Wall part of the complex, which connects the complex's four buildings and is home to the development's elevators, laundry, and waste facilities. The wall consists of perforated metal panels that protect the development from harsh sunlight, cold winter winds, and noise from the surrounding freeways and international border crossing facility. Roederer placed ColorGraze MX Powercore luminaires (now specified with ColorGraze IntelliHue Powercore
), each separated by 1.219 m (4 ft), along the exterior of the wall. At night, this utility section of the complex is decorated with dazzling displays created by the programmable LED lights.
The Paisano Green Senior Housing Community is LEED Platinum certified, the highest level award for environmentally friendly buildings. Paisano is also Enterprise Green Communities Certified - a certificate granted by Enterprise Community Partners to affordable housing projects that meet certain green standards, including integrative design, low environmental impact, water and energy conservation, and the use of eco-friendly materials.
"Creating a visually interesting display within this net-zero environment was a challenge that opened us up to new solutions," Roederer said. "Overall, this project really illustrates just how important lighting is."