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SOLARA: CA’s First Solar-powered Apartment Community
A new apartment community in San Diego County is proving that green is both beautiful and affordable. SOLARA is a part of a mixed-use development from Community Housing Works that includes 56 fully solar-powered homes. Sun power is only a part of this smart green growth development which also features energy-efficient designs, healthy materials, water conserving equipment, and high recycled content throughout – even in the community art installations.
This model project is the result of collective efforts between the city of Poway, Community Housing Works, and Global Green USA. Together with Rodriguez Associates Architects & Planners the development team produced one-, two- and three-bedroom units priced between $388-$1,075 per month, depending on occupants’ income.
SOLARA apartments are affordable upfront and in operating costs with energy saving features like passive solar orientation, cool roofs, low-e windows, Energy Star appliances, and tankless boilers for hot water. The homes save water with low-flow restrictors, dual flush toilets, and native (low-allergy) landscaping.
Inside, choices like linoleum, green label carpet (with carpet pad from recycled clothing), Trex decking, and fly ash in concrete are some of the ways SOLARA has incorporated recycled materials into the components. Healthy indoor environmental quality is provided by natural cross ventilation, low-VOC paints and finishes, formaldehyde-free insulation and cabinets, chlorine-free air conditioning, and ample mechanical ventilation.
SOLARA is designed for smart growth with proximity to public transportation, shopping, schools, a library, and recreation facilities. The development is oriented to pedestrians and has a 2,100 sq. ft. community center, and Community Housing Works provides programs on job training, financial fitness, learning, and civic leadership.
Smart and sustainable throughout, SOLARA is the first project delivered under the California Energy Commission’s Zero Energy New Homes program. The project’s renewable energy systems were financed almost entirely by energy rebates and tax credits, including rarely used state and federal financial incentives for multifamily housing.
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