A lot of the modern affordable apartment housing projects "look good." However, they don't always have efficient designs. The structural designs are often inefficient, and the units include numerous unnecessary features. Ideally, a person or family should wish to rent until they can afford to buy a starter house. An entry level/affordable house should be efficient as well. People can improve their homes when they can afford to, thereby not including the improvements in the financing.
When apartments have excessive luxury features, this adds a lot to the costs. If the housing is financed, the costs can double. So, if unnecessary features are included, these cost double as well. If the costs of construction can be cut by 50%, for example, twice as many units can be built on the same budget. Modern building codes make including some unnecessary features more expensive.
If these projects receive public funding, and the costs are cut, the same resources can be placed toward more housing. "Sustainable" is a popular buzz word. A small unit with limited window space doesn't use much energy at any rate. Many of the newer houses are so large that they use a lot of energy regardless of the efficiency of individual components. People should watch that the financially challenged aren't taxed disproportionately when it comes to environmental issues and housing.
Some of the inefficient/unnecessary features often included in modern affordable apartment projects are:
* Expensive on demand water heaters
* Washers and dryers (dryers should be given lowest priority)
* Expensive windows
* Excessive/expensive lighting
* Too many cabinets
* Garbage disposals
* Unnecessary hips and valleys in the roofing
* Too much porch/covered porch space
* Interior wall (sound) insulation
* Sometimes central air conditioning isn't really necessary in mild climates
For examples, most people own microwaves and they're cheap, and lamps are cheap.