Clara Esparza, a single mother of three, is saving about $400 a year thanks to the new solar power on her home. Together, residents at Park View Terrace Apartments in Poway are saving on average 60% on electricity costs, amounting to nearly $25,000 per year in savings across 92 apartments. As San Diego’s utilities increase, on average, at 6 percent or more each year, these savings are especially important.
Clara is thankful for what the extra savings means for her family. “With the money I’m saving on electricity, I have a little extra room in my budget to do things for my kids that I couldn’t afford to do before.”
As part of our commitment to sustainability, CHW has already installed over a full megawatt of power at 11 apartment communities and are currently working to install new solar systems at 22 additional affordable rental communities, lowering utility costs for hundreds of working families. A large portion of the savings will go to lowering utility costs for 1,100 lower income working families, seniors, veterans and people with disabilities living on fixed incomes. Did you read about our mention in a White House press release as a key part of achieving President Obama’s solar energy goals?
Our commitment to sustainability runs deep,” says Anne Wilson, senior vice president of housing and real estate development at CHW. “We hold the distinction of developing SOLARA, the first apartment community in the California to be fully powered by the sun.”
In addition to the work on solar photovoltaic, CHW has installed domestic solar hot water systems at 11 communities. These systems are offsetting over 56,000 therms each year, and serve 716 residential homes, reducing total therm consumption by an average of 46%. Ever ready to blaze the trail of new technology in apartment communities, CHW also recently installed a first-of-its-kind in the US Geothermal system at Avocado Court Apartments that is truly unique in its shallow, air circulated design. This unique system eliminated the need for air conditioning in the community space, greatly reducing the total energy consumption of the building.
Sustainability, however, is more than just about renewable resources. Reducing building consumption is a vital component to creating energy efficient buildings. CHW recently rehabilitated three buildings, totaling more than 200 units in its portfolio, with an average age of 41. As a result of these major rehabilitations, these properties reduced energy consumption by an average of 25%, not inclusive any solar electric installations that were completed. This reduced consumption meant that CHW could then install solar pv and need much smaller systems since total energy consumption was already reduced, due to energy efficient lighting, building envelope improvements, and high efficiency building systems. An additional 200 units have gone through unit by unit weatherization, reducing heat loss and improving efficiency.
Energy efficiency is engrained in the nature of life and work at CHW communities, with maintenance staff trained on sustainability, and incorporating green, healthy and sustainable practices into all the ongoing maintenance at every property. From major solar installations to a commitment to only purchasing Energy Star appliances is a way of life at CHW and its communities.