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The Low-Income Weatherization Program's (LIWP) Multi-Family Energy Efficiency and Renewables Component provides technical assistance and incentives for the installation of energy efficiency measures and solar photovoltaic systems in low-income multi-family dwellings serving priority populations. These projects reduce residential energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions. Low-income residents that participate in this program benefit from lower energy costs. The program also helps preserve affordable housing by reducing owner operating costs.
CSD modeled its Multi-Family Component to improve the energy efficiency of multi-family buildings and achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions. Each building is thoroughly assessed and evaluated both visually and through the use of diagnostic energy audit tools to determine a suite of greenhouse gas reducing energy efficiency and renewable energy measures for installation and living in common areas.
The Association for Energy Affordability, Inc (AEA) serves as the statewide administrator of the LIWP Multi-Family Component. AEA conducts energy audits and modeling to identify energy efficiency measures and renewables for installation in qualifying multi-family buildings, with assistance and incentives to property owners towards agreed-upon scopes of work.
California Climate Investments is a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities, low-income communities, and for low-income households. For information, visit http://www.caclimateinvestments.ca.gov.
When the operator of affordable housing in San Diego that focuses on individuals who have experienced homelessness and mental health issues sought to renovate an aging supportive housing property, “The Allison,” they turned to the Department of Community Services and Development’s (CSD) Low-Income Weatherization Program (LIWP) to fund a rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system and energy efficiency improvements. Installed in 2018, these California Climate Investments funded improvements that are projected to reduce energy usage across the property by 35 percent, with tenant energy bills expected to decrease dramatically, and reduce GHG emissions by an estimated 75 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year over the life of the project.
“We’re even more proud of The Allison apartments than we were before, if that was possible,” said Jon Walters of Housing Innovation Partners. “This property is now highly energy efficient: we’ve got enhanced community spaces, enhanced apartment interiors, and we’re ready to serve this community and our tenants for decades to come.”
LIWP’s Multi-Family Program Administrator, the Association for Energy Affordability, worked with The Allison’s owner, Housing Innovation Partners, and the development team led by Wakeland Housing and Development to conduct an energy audit and identify the best suite of energy efficiency improvements and solar system size for the 58-unit property. Apartments were completely renovated and energy conserving refrigerators, LED lighting, and heat pump water heaters funded by LIWP were installed.
Another CSD contracted partner, GRID Alternatives, installed an 87-kilowatt rooftop solar PV system and provided a workforce development opportunity to ten trainees, nine of whom subsequently found employment in the solar industry.
“We’re fortunate… that our property reduces its carbon footprint with solar panels as well as our smart phone-controlled water heaters, which are very cool!” said one Allison resident. “I know I can speak for all of the residents here for how grateful and humble I am for the renovation that has taken place.”
The solar and energy efficiency improvements that LIWP funded will not only help The Allison’s low-income tenants devote more of their financial resources towards necessities other than energy bills, they will also help ensure that The Allison continues for many years to provide critical supportive housing to help those who have struggled with homelessness live stable, healthy lives.