Los Angeles now has its first apartment building that was designed, constructed, and permitted so tenants could use solar power and achieve net-zero energy usage. There are 20 eco-apartments located at the site in downtown Los Angeles. Kyle Staley, Development Design Manager at the Houston-based Hanover Company which was responsible for them, answered some questions about the project for CleanTechnica.
1. Each apartment has a Nest Thermostat and an iPad Mini energy tracker. How does the energy tracker work, and can you also access it via a smartphone?
The residents in these Eco-Green apartment homes can monitor their own solar energy generation and usage in real-time via an iPad app, and they can track surplus LADWP energy credits via their monthly utility bills. The tracker cannot be accessed via a smartphone.
2. Each apartment has 10 solar power panels, what is the capacity in kilowatts?
Each of the 20 Eco-Green apartments receives about 3 kilowatts from the 215 solar panels. The system was designed to generate about 65.5 kilowatts to power all 20 eco-apartments homes.
3. On average, how much savings per month would a resident see on their electricity bill?
Approximately $100 saved per utility billing cycle.
4. Are there different sizes of apartments, like studios, 1 bedrooms, and 2 bedrooms? If so, what are the square footages?
Studios: 539-579 sq ft
1-Bedrooms: 650-916 sq ft
2-Bedrooms: 975-1342 sq ft.
5. Are there energy-efficient appliances in each apartment? If so, what are they?
Yes, the microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator, washer and dryer are all Energy Star rated appliances from General Electric.
6. Does each apartment have central cooling and heating?
7. Does each have LED lighting?
8. How long did it take to construct the apartments?
Construction began on July 7, 2014. Leasing began in March of 2016.
9. Did the developer receive any government support at the city, county or state levels?
Federal tax credits and LADWP incentives are available in the first year of operation.
10. Will the developer construct more net-zero apartments in LA, or Southern California?
To be determined.
11. What are the expected rents for the apartments?
For the Eco-Apartment…
Studios from $2,140
1-Bedrooms from $2,728
2-Bedrooms from $3,297.
12. Are there any tax advantages for renters who choose a net-zero home?
The residents of not receive any direct tax advantage from the solar power infrastructure; however, the residents do receive the entire direct benefit of the solar power generated by the rooftop solar array. The power that these residents use is created entirely on-site by the sun and it feeds directly into the residents’ electrical panels. Surplus power that the resident does not use during the day is fed back to LADWP’s electricity grid, which essentially functions like a giant battery.
Image Credits: Hanover Company
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