Growing by leaps and bounds in the years immediately after World War II, Palm Springs, Calif., saw its population increase by nearly 300 percent between 1940 and 1960. The resort city continued to expand in the final decades of the 20th century, as what was once desert was swallowed up by civilization.
With this constant growth, a need for housing naturally arose. That’s where the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition comes in. A little over 10 years ago, the CVHC wanted to put in a new affordable-housing apartment building. The group found the land – 4.5 acres in all – contracted with Brooks + Scarpa architectural firm in Los Angeles, and soon a new 57-unit apartment block known as Rosa Gardens appeared above Rosa Parks Road on the north side of town.
“Cities need affordable housing for essential workers who can support the community,” says Lawrence Scarpa, the lead designer on the project.
Not only were the designers at Brooks + Scarpa excited to provide affordable housing in Palm Springs, but they wanted to make it as energy efficient as possible. The complex would ultimately attain a LEED Gold rating thanks to a number of factors, such as insulation made from recycled material, water-saving toilets, and energy-efficient windows from Milgard Windows & Doors.
“The LEED Gold designation would have been very difficult to achieve without windows with low-thermal transmission,” Scarpa says.
The windows at Rosa Gardens are from the Milgard® Ultra™ Series | C650 line. A fiberglass window that’s resistant to heat and cold, the Ultra Series is Energy Star®-certified for all four U.S. climate zones. Its presence at Rosa Gardens enabled not only the LEED Gold rating, but also the comfort of inhabitants who live in one of the hottest cities in America.
Ultra Series fiberglass windows are also extremely durable. Designed to last, its dependability was one of the reasons why Brooks + Scarpa chose Milgard.
“It was a combination of performance, cost, and durability,” Scarpa says.
Rosa Gardens has now been welcoming tenants for over a decade. In addition to its acclaim as one of the few affordable housing complexes in the city, Rosa Gardens received Residential Architect Magazine’s Merit Award for Design in 2012.
But Scarpa is most proud of the apartment building’s energy-efficient qualities.
“While California has the most stringent energy-efficient requirements in the U.S., Rosa Gardens incorporates numerous sustainable features that exceed state-mandated measures by more than 30 percent,” he says. “The building is loaded with energy-saving and environmentally benign devices … including the double-glazed windows with Low-E coating from Milgard.”