We believe green buildings are better for everyone, and it is inspiring to see more and more ideas in use. This homeless shelter is the first green shelter to be built: it has photovoltaic panels on the roof, healthier radiant heating that doesn't kick up dust, and zero-VOC finishes inside.
Many who use the shelter on a regular basis are chronically ill with diseases including asthma, so the heating system and low-toxic paint are a real boon to the comfort and well-being of those in the shelter. As The Oakland Tribune quoted Wendy Jackson, director of the nonprofit that runs the shelter, "we are asking our people to deal with some heavy issues, so it is best that we support their health."
We're hoping the design and green ethos behind this shelter becomes a model for others who take care of those in times of need. If it's similar to other green buildings, the up-front costs of the green features should be more than offset by reduced operational costs down the road -- and that means more care available for people. At the most basic level, that is what this whole green thing is about.