paisano green community senior housing

architectural, green / sustainable, LEED, multifamily, netzero, public housing
photo credit: Jesse Ramirez
design team
Principal in Charge jv DeSousa
Project Architects Joseph Vigil and Ali Gidfar
Architectural Designer Ulla Lange
W8 Production Team Josh Oqueli, Kate Pedersen, Liz Smith, Marianne Bellino, Michelle Frankel

Builder Pavilion Construction
Energy Modeler & Sustainability ConsultantMark Bloomfield Sustainably Built
LEED Consultant  Progress Building
Landscape Architect Jennifer Barr, Desert Element Landscape Design LLC
Landscape Designer Julie Hauser, indigo landscape design
Lighting Designer David Roederer, Clanton & Associates
MEP Priest Engineering
Structural Engineer Paul Gallagher, Gebau

73 new units for seniors / 6 buildings

four 3-story flats; nine duplexes; eight 2-bedroom units; nine SRO; 55 1-bedroom units; utility structure; new community building

dedicated to seniors and disabled residents at 30% AMI or less

Paisano Green Community is the first NetZero, fossil fuel free, LEED Platinum, affordable senior housing project in the United States. This 73 unit project is built on a 4.2 acre site, adjacent to the major border crossing between El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico. The design goals of the project were to create a place sensitive community for elderly residents that would promote healthy living and an environment encouraging the development of interpersonal relationships, all within a well designed set of energy efficient high performance buildings and grounds.
The building program includes a community building on the north end of the site adjacent to the six lane Paisano Avenue, four, three story flats buildings, along with their connective structure, the canopy wall to the west, and a linear two story building along the east edge of the site containing eighteen single room occupancies (SROs). These structures surround a large internal garden, named the Tapestry Garden, as well as a series of courtyards between the flats buildings. The Tapestry Garden, so named to symbolize the interweaving of the lives of the residents, is an oasis in the center of the project where residents can stroll, chat with neighbors and invite family over for outdoor reunions.  All units are visitable, ADA compliant, or designed to be easily converted to serve the needs of elderly residents as they age in place.
ARRA grant through HUD

City of El Paso loan


HACEP unrestricted funds

sustainable features
LEED Platinum

Enterprise Green Communities Certified

net-zero energy

fossil fuel free

building size: 55,357 SF; site size 4.2 acres
construction cost
$14,830,000 / $203,150 per unit
4000 East Paisano Dr. El Paso TX 79905
design awards
2013 — National Award of Merit in Program Innovation – Project Design / National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials
2012 — Citation Award for Built Architecture / American Institute of Architects (AIA) Colorado
media coverage
September 2014 — Colorful Panels Add to Green Design / Commercial Building Products Magazine
July 2013 — Paisano Green Community / GreenSource, The Magazine of Sustainable Design
May 2013 — These Seniors are Living Green / Builder and Developer Magazine
3 May 2013 — NetZero Living and Climate /
2013 — Paisano Green Community Senior Housing / Architizer
29 March 2013 — WORKSHOP8 : Boulder architects design net-zero housing project in El Paso / Boulder County Business Report
26 March 2013 — A Green Community Comes to Town /
January / February 2013  — The New Model for Affordable Housing / green building & design magazine

20 December 2012 — Paisano Green Community is the First NetZero Senior Housing Project in the US / Tyson and Billy
20 November, 2012 — Special Report: The Paisano Green Community / Channel 7
29 October 2012 — Gray Goes Green: First U.S. Net Zero Senior Community Opens in TX / Clean Technicz
20 September 2012 — Paisano Green Community /
31 August 2012 — The Paisano Green Community – Redefining Affordable Housing in the United States / YouTube

25 October 2011 — Paisano Green Community is the First NetZero Housing Project in the US / inhabitat
25 October 2011 — Paisano Green Community (designed using Vectorworks and Sketchup Pro) /
18 October 2011 — 73-Unit Public Housing Community for Seniors Generates 100% of Energy On-Site / University  of St. Thomas
11 October 2011 — Eco-friendly Housing Project Paisano Green Community 1st of its Kind / El Paso Times
September 2011 — Cutting-Edge Green Affordable Housing in El Paso, TX /