St. Frances was known as a friend to all earthly creatures, and now, at Casa Chiara – a 16 unit modular complex of six green homes and offices for the Sisters of St. Francis in Denver, (which comes to us via Treehugger) – the legacy of the green saint lives on.
Designed by architect Michelle Kaufmann the development, constructed from locally sourced and recycled eco-friendly materials, includes strategically placed windows and openings to sculpt in natural light and maximize ventilation (reducing energy for artificial lighting and mechanical systems, efficient systems and a building envelope designed to minimize energy usage. It further includes high performance insulation, dual pane, low-e glass doors and windows, Energy Star doors, Energy Star appliances, a 90%+ efficient furnace and a tankless on-demand water heater.
The Casa Chiara project made use of water-hardy xeriscaping for its landscaping and low-flow plumbing fixtures throughout, as well as an incorporated garden / water retention area to reduce issues associated with storm water run-off. A 14kw PV solar energy system produces 100% the day-time electricity for the buildings and more, allowing the Sisters of St. Francis to actually give green energy back to the grid for a nice rebate – a worldly transaction St. Francis probably would not disprove of.