Developer: Affirmed Housing
Owner: Affirmed Housing
Location: Carson, Calif.
The 2014 Small Community Project Award goes to Affirmed Housing for its development of Arbor Green in Carson, Calif. Arbor Green, which provides affordable rental housing, employs numerous green features. They include a 120 kW photovoltaic solar system, a solar water heating system, low-flow fixtures, recycling chutes, car chargers for electric vehicles and dedicated parking for efficient vehicles. The development is LEED Certified Platinum.
Arbor Green offers 40 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and high-quality amenities to families earning 30 to 60 percent of the area median income. The affordable housing property is close to public transit and provides residents with an on-site computer lab, large community lounge, library, tutoring and cooking classes, laundry facilities and a courtyard with playgrounds, garden plots and drought-tolerant plants. Architect Withee Malcolm worked closely with Affirmed Housing to develop a U-shaped building in front of the courtyard, reducing traffic noise in the outdoor community space.
In addition to the renewable energy systems, other energy and cost-saving features include highly efficient HVAC equipment, efficient lighting, Energy Star appliances and a highly efficient irrigation system. Katelyn Silverwood, marketing director of Affirmed Housing, said the irrigation system will reduce water use by 47 percent. She said Arbor Green’s various green features will help reduce monthly utility bills for residents by as much as 80 percent, which means some residents could pay $5 or even less.
Arbor Green provided affordable and energy-efficient housing by combining a variety of state and federal financial incentives. The financing package totaled nearly $13.7 million and included low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) from Raymond James, the syndicator for the project; solar tax credits from the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (CTCAC); a permanent loan from US Bank; energy-efficiency rebates through the California Advanced Homes and Savings-by-Design programs; funds from the New Solar Homes Partnership; and a loan and land donation from the city of Carson.
Arbor Green demonstrated financial innovation and serves as an example for community-focused developments because the use of renewable energy will minimize the impact of the development’s energy footprint on the community. Silverwood said the energy-saving efforts will help prevent rising utility costs, which will keep rent affordable for the low-income population.