What do you do with a group of aging nuns in Denver, Colorado who are having trouble going up and down the stairs in their giant two-story convent? Scrap the whole building and hire green prefab expert Michelle Kaufmann to design modular homes for the Sisters of St. Francis Sacred Heart Province and the surrounding community, of course.
In addition to the 16 modular nun homes, Kaufmann and developer Urban Ventures are building 160 homes, 110 rental apartments, and 80,000 square feet of retail and office space on the former site of the Marycrest Convent campus. The project, dubbed Aria Denver, will begin construction by the end of the year.
Kaufmann’s homes will feature a number of sustainable elements, including low-flow showers and faucets, CFL and LED lights, sustainably-harvested wood flooring and cabinets, natural ventilation, and high-performance insulation. And perhaps best of all, the homes are affordable, ranging in price from $250,000 to $500,000.
The Sisters of St. Francis are part of a growing movement of green nuns who believe that ecology and spiritually are connected. The Sisters of the Community of the Holy Spirit in New York City have begun construction on a new convent that they hope will be sustainable from the ground on up, with a rooftop garden, rainwater collection, natural light and ventilation, and water heated by solar power.