On June 16 Better Buildings Challenge Multifamily partner Mercy Housing was honored with the National Apartment Association’s (NAA’s) Return on Energy (ROE) Energy Retrofit Award. The award recognizes smart, innovative solutions that successfully reduce energy in a quantifiable way by showing estimated return on investment (ROI) at an individual property.
NAA’s ROE Awards honor apartment communities that have mastered the sustainability and energy reduction equation. The program spotlights action and results in energy management beneficial to the multifamily industry and aims to educate industry professionals on how benchmarking information can be used to improve energy efficiency.
Mercy Housing won the ROE Award for its renovation of 205 Jones Street Apartments, an affordable mid-rise property of 50 studio apartments in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. Mercy Housing implemented deep energy and water efficiency upgrades at the 94-year old property. These included converting an existing gas domestic hot water heating system to electric heat pump water heaters – one of the first times this has been done in multifamily housing in the U.S. Mercy Housing also installed LED lighting in common areas and apartments, low-flow faucet aerators and showerheads, thermostatic radiator valves and pipe insulation, and added Energy Star® washing machines.
The project is one of the nation’s first examples of applying the Energy Service Company (ESCO) model to multifamily affordable housing non-profits, outside of the public housing authority sphere. Mercy Housing’s ESCO partner, Affordable Community Energy (ACE), evaluated the property for opportunities, implemented the upgrades, and will maintain the equipment for a 10-year period at no capital expense to the property. The property pays for this service from measured not expected savings as a result of efficiency implementation. During the 10-year period, the property pays 80 percent of the savings to ACE and maintains 20 percent of the savings at the property. The project also leveraged funds from the California Low Income Weatherization Program.
205 Jones Street is one of more than 90 properties that will be retrofitted in partnership with ACE. This portfolio approach will allow for deeper retrofits at most of Mercy Housing’s California properties, since properties that have faster financial paybacks—like 205 Jones Street—will allow ACE to retrofit other properties that would not otherwise be financially viable.