California’s newest Zero Energy Housing project, Los Vecinos, celebrated its grand opening 12 May. Developed by Wakeland Housing and Development Corp with Global Green USA serving as the green technical advisor, the housing development will provide nearly 100 per cent of its own electricity from solar power and residents will save 75 per cent or more on their electricity bills.
Los Vecinos consists of 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units on three floors as well as a 1,500-square-foot community center, where residents will have access to programmes on health and wellness, finance and computer literacy and “going green.” Families earning between $16,600 and $58,800 will reside there. The solar array covering the entire roof was installed by Solar Power Inc. and is a 94 kW system. Each apartment gets a certain number of solar panels hard-wired directly so it and gets whatever credit the system produces; the bigger the apartment, the more panels.
“The project is a perfect example of the kinds of design strategies and technologies that will need to be deployed in order to meet California’s long-term policy goal of making all new residential housing net zero by 2020,” said Ted Bardacke, Global Green’s Senior Program Associate.
In addition, Global Green USA is sponsoring AB 212, the Residential Buildings Zero Net Energy Bill in California. The inspiration for this legislation is the Solara project in Poway, California; the first apartment community in California fully powered by the sun, for which Global Green USA was again the primary green technical advisor. According to the bill’s author, California Assembly Member Lori Saldaña AB 212 would “require expansion of Net Zero Energy construction statewide” and thereby lead to “significantly lower energy use, smaller to non-existent utility bills, increased reliability, decreased emissions from fossil fuel power generation, and an attractive investment for housing consumers.”
Los Vecinos is the latest of nearly a dozen Zero Energy Home Projects throughout the state of California, which is promising considering the impact energy use has on the environment. “Energy use in buildings is the largest single global warming pollution source in the United States – accounting for 48% of all greenhouse gas emissions nationally,” said Global Green policy director Mary Luevano. “Urgent action is needed to address the climate crisis and AB 212 is a huge step in the right direction.”
Los Vecinos developer Wakeland Housing and Development Corp. was established in 1999 as a non-profit corporation to develop quality affordable housing projects with resident-education programs for low-income families. The organization has developed, acquired and rehabilitated over 5,000 units and is an affordable housing leader in San Diego and throughout California.
Through its Green Urbanism Programme, Global Green is pioneering smart solutions to fight global warming with an emphasis on creating green homes, schools and sustainable cities. For more than a decade, Global Green’s LEED-accredited green building staff has spearheaded applying green technology in affordable housing projects throughout California and the nation.