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Solar-Powered Affordable Housing (San Diego, California, USA)

from Treehugger

by Kristin Underwood, Sacramento, CA
05. 6.09

Los Vecinos, the first LEED-Certified Platinum, 100% solar-powered affordable housing in San Diego, offer 42-units of state of the art in green housing. The $17.6 million USD project opened its doors today to visitors to welcome the new neighbors, who are already living in the building, to the neighborhood.

The complex is located in the Chula Vista section of San Diego, and provides 3 floors of 1, 2 and 3-bedroom housing units. The complex also has a 1,500 square foot recreation center complete with space for classes offered such as finance, computer literacy and how to "go green." Eligible residents make between $16,600 and $58,800 USD per year (60% or less of the area's median income).

The solar array covering the entire roof was installed by Solar Power Inc and is a 93 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 property was once a vacant motel that housed all sorts of riffraff, but is now a "recycled" property housing a community of 42 families.

To achieve Platinum LEED status, the building was designed to minimize the size of both the carbon footprint and the utility bill of the building's residents. Aside from the extensive solar array, which power almost the entire building, units were designed to rely mainly on ceiling fans and natural ventilation. Other environmental upgrades include tankless water heaters, Energy Star appliances, energy efficient lighting and low water-use fixtures. All landscaping on the property is designed to require minimal water. Pretty much everything you would expect from a green building. These upgrades all add up to what should be a Platinum certification under LEED.

Wakeland Housing and Development Corp, the company responsible for getting this project off the ground, was established in 1999 and works to provide quality affordable housing. They have since renovated or built over 5,000 units in San Diego and throughout the US. Los Vecinos is located at 1501 Broadway, Chula Vista, CA. :Los Vecinos Apartments