Located at the corner of a main off-ramp of the Santa Monica freeway, Colorado Court's highly visible position makes it a gateway to the city. The 44-unit, five-story building is the first affordable-housing project in the United States to be 100% energy neutral. This project is an excellent model of sustainable development in an urban environment, provides a model for private/public partnerships that benefit the community, and promotes diversity in an urban environment through strategically placed affordable housing.
Innovative sustainable energy technologies developed for Colorado Court include a natural-gas turbine cogeneration system that generates the base electrical load and provides the building's hot water needs. Photovoltaics integrated into the facade and roof supply most of the peak-load energy demand. Unused energy from these solar panels is fed into the grid during daytime hours and retrieved from the grid at night as needed. The "green electricity" produced at the building site releases no pollutants into the environment. Prevailing breezes cool the building, which has no air conditioning.
The building also collects rainwater runoff from the entire city block behind the property and funnels it into a series of underground chambers. The water slowly percolates back into the soil, which filters the pollutants from the water while preventing contaminated water from spilling into Santa Monica Bay.