Harris County Housing Authority’s Green Senior Community Embraces Twitter and Facebook

Cypresswood Estates, an affordable housing community for people 55 and older, introduced its Facebook page this week and has launched a Twitter campaign to help promote its grand opening event Tuesday, Sept. 27. The social media presence connects the 88-unit housing development with its surrounding community and the nation, and it will become a valuable tool for staff and residents to relay information about activities, opportunities, and green practices at Cypresswood Estates.

The development, which consists of one- and two-bedroom apartments and townhomes, has already earned recognition for its exemplary affordable green housing and building practices. Cypresswood Estates is the nation’s first affordable housing for seniors that exceeds the criteria for Platinum LEED and Emerald Green certifications, the highest certifications available. With energy-efficient appliances, solar panels, rainwater reclamation, drip irrigation, electric car charging stations and more, the property offers modern convenience with minimal impact to the environment. Several of the town homes are NetZero, meaning solar panels will generate all of the energy needed by those homes.

Developed by green home builders Harris County Housing Authority, the property represents a shift in what housing looks and feels like for the retired or the nearly retired. “We do have signs outside that say this is a community for residents 55 and older, but [younger] people still come in and inquire based on how the property looks and what we’re about,” says leasing consultant Stephanie Coronado Garcia, who notes that nearly 75 percent of the units are already leased.

“We often think of younger generations as champions of eco-awareness, but it makes great sense for older generations too. Retired people or those nearing retirement often live on fixed incomes,” says Guy Rankin, president and CEO of HCHA. “Not only will they appreciate the significantly lower utility bills, but our residents are active adults who are interested in responsible, sustainable living, like anyone else.”

This active-adult demographic also desires community and connection. The Cypresswood Estates staff will soon receive training to keep residents and the neighboring community connected through social networking. Cypresswood Estates’ Facebook page serves as a jumping-off point, rallying Houston’s leaders, state and government officials and other proponents of green building to attend the grand opening, tour the property and spread the concept of building affordable housing that is environmentally responsible and sustainable.