Eastern Village Cohousing Condominium

This view of the courtyard shows native plants, low-albedo concrete, and bollard lighting. Most condominium unit entrances face the courtyard.


  • Location: Silver Spring, MD
  • Building type(s): Multi-unit residential, Assembly
  • Renovation of a 1957 building
  • 92,600 ft2 (8,600 m2)
  • Project scope: 85% of a building
  • Urban setting
  • Completed November 2004
  • Rating: U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC, v.2/v.2.1--Level: Silver (34 points)

Eastern Village Cohousing (EVC) is a green building that represents a new direction in mixed-income, urban, residential development. Located in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, it consists of 56 residential condominium units. Cohousing communities such as EVC constitute small-scale neighborhoods providing balance between personal privacy and community living, wherein neighbors share in community activities, decision-making, work, and play. Residents have been involved from the beginning of the project, helping to plan and program EVC, and will participate to a high degree in the management of the community.

Environmental Aspects

The EVC building is an adaptive reuse of an abandoned office building originally constructed in the 1950s. The structure's courtyard had been a parking lot but is now a green space that includes benches, sculpture, a patio, and a children's play area. EVC incorporates such features as ground-source heating and cooling, low-emitting finishes, some rapidly renewable materials, and a vegetative roof. Multifaceted commissioning was employed to ensure best practices and compliance with design requirements during the construction phase.

The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED(r) Rating System provided the primary framework for the design team to explore green building strategies best suited for the project. The U.S. Green Building Council awarded ECV LEED Silver certification in September 2005, making it the first LEED-certified cohousing structure.

Residents, many of whom contributed to the design process, actively participate in the management of the facility and grounds, including "green housekeeping" and other low-impact maintenance strategies where practical. The resident group has agreed contractually to install only Energy Star(r) appliances, both initially and through a replacement policy.

Owner & Occupancy

  • Owned and occupied by Eastern Village Cohousing Homeowners' Association, Corporation, nonprofit
  • Typically occupied by 100 people, 168 hours per person per week; and 20 visitors per week, 4 hours per visitor per week

Eastern Village Cohousing consists of 56 residential units plus 14,000 ft2 of common spaces referred to collectively as the "common house."

Cohousing refers to a residential arrangement combining private homeownership with shared community facilities, activities, and decision-making. Residents at Eastern Village Cohousing worked closely with the architect and developer to make design decisions that matched the community's needs and goals.

Building Programs

Indoor Spaces:

Living quarters (80%), Circulation (10%), Other (5%), Dining (2%), Mechanical systems (1%), Electrical systems (1%), Lobby/reception (1%), Restrooms (1%)

Outdoor Spaces:

Garden—decorative (73%), Patio/hardscape (22%), Playground (3%), Shade structures/outdoor rooms (2%)


Integrated team, Design charrette, Green framework, Simulation, Green specifications, Commissioning, Performance measurement and verification, Transportation benefits, Indigenous vegetation, Stormwater management, Efficient fixtures and appliances, Drought-tolerant landscaping, Insulation levels, Glazing, Airtightness, HVAC, Efficient lighting, Durability, Benign materials, Recycled materials, Local materials, C&D waste management, Occupant recycling, Connection to outdoors, Low-emitting materials

Photo credit: Dan Cunningham

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Last updated: 10/13/2005

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