Toolkit Helps Housing Developers Design Zero-Energy Buildings

Renewable Energy

Investing in renewables typically pays off over time. Mint Images/ Bill Miles / Getty Images

You may think it would be pricey to rent an apartment in a sleek new complex with rooftop solar and ultra-efficient appliances. But Silver Star Apartments in L.A. houses formerly homeless and disabled veterans.

It’s one of a small but growing number of affordable housing developments built to meet stringent green building standards.

Amanda Sturgeon is former CEO of the International Living Future Institute. The nonprofit certifies buildings that meet strict targets for energy and water use.

“Climate benefits are that they’re typically zero-energy homes,” she says. “So … being able to generate all the energy for the homes from renewable resources.”

She says investing in renewables typically pays off over time. But the upfront cost can be a barrier for affordable housing developers.

So the institute works with about 20 affordable housing developers in the U.S. And it’s created a toolkit with resources for designing and financing affordable zero-energy buildings. Sturgeon says a number are already under construction.

“Once you have built examples,” she says, “you can then sort of show people it’s possible, and they can feel it and really see that this is something that other people can invest in.”

Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

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