The Oakland, CA Merritt Crossing Senior Apartments consist of 70 units, which are reserved for senior citizens with incomes between 30 and 50 percent of the area’s median income. Over half of the apartments in the complex are reserved for the homeless, those at risk of homelessness, or those living with HIV/AIDS. The project was named one of the top ten green projects by AIA COTE in 2013. The building has received the LEED Platinum certification, as well as the Build It Green and Energy Star certifications.
The 62,000 square foot building was designed by Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects and was built on an infill site near the freeway. The apartment complex is designed with tall windows, which let in plenty of natural daylight. To reduce the heat impact, there are southwest-facing screen walls on each balcony. These ensure shade and provide acoustical dampening, and visual privacy, while providing great scenic views of the surrounding areas. The building also features a cool roof and high-performance glazing and thermal breaks on windows.
While the apartments do have operable windows, most of the residents keep them closed because of noise and poor air quality. A good building ventilation system was therefore one of the most important aspects of the design. The architects opted for a central rooftop air handler with a high-quality filter system, which brings in fresh air. Rooftop fans connected to the bath ventilation provide continuous low-level exhaust.