St. Paul’s Flax Hill Cooperative Begins Renovation, Energy Upgrade Project

Study financing provided by Capital for Change, Housing Development Fund, and Connecticut Green Bank

 

October 31, 2017, Norwalk, CT – St. Paul’s Flax Hill Cooperative Inc., a property managed by The Simon Konover Company (TSKC), is pleased to announce the closing of financing for an energy upgrade study which will identify, analyze, and define the technical and economic feasibility of installing energy upgrades, as well as health and safety related improvements, to the property.

This energy upgrade study is financed through a $100,000 loan extended by Capital for Change (C4C) and $30,000 Pre-Development Energy Loan from the Housing Development Fund Inc. (HDF), in conjunction with the Connecticut Green Bank and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The Cooperative is also using $25,000 of its own reserves.

“St. Paul’s has been here for more than 40 years and the members have done a great job in keeping the community thriving and affordable,” said Rodolfo “Rudy” Carranza, who grew up at St. Paul’s and is now the cooperative’s Board President. “But we knew we needed help to make it through the next 40 years.” 

Carranza is also employed by the State of Connecticut as a Building Maintainer at Housatonic Community College. He has experience in HVAC and knowledge in construction. He knows the challenges his community faced to address their most critical needs.

“The members were concerned about rising utility bills and the capital repairs that needed to be addressed.  This was a big challenge for us and we were worried that the cost of the renovations would be too much for some of the members to afford,” said Carranza. “We knew we needed to tackle the problem with a team of professionals and come up with a plan to move forward. The financing provided by the Connecticut Green Bank and Capital for Change has helped us bring together the right team to create that plan and a way to finance the work so we can keep St. Paul’s affordable, not just for our families but for the generations to come.”

The property, located at 28 Martin Luther King Drive in Norwalk, is an 86-unit cooperative serving low and moderate income families. The anticipated renovations have a strong focus on energy improvements to both the common utilities and the energy performance of individual units. These renovations include: replacement of entry doors, sliders, and windows; replacement of roofing and vinyl siding; upgrading refrigerators, sinks, and toilets; installing new gas fired furnaces and water heaters, smoke detectors, and programmable thermostats. The firms to provide the professional services have not yet been selected.

After the study is completed, the co-op plans to refinance the project through the HUD 223(f) program with Century Health Capital, Inc. of Saratoga Springs, NY, as well as funding from the Department of Housing, project reserves, and energy rebates.

“We are pleased to help this project realize the benefits of energy improvements.” offered Cal Vinal, President & CEO of Capital For Change. “Leveraging the energy efficiency cost savings to help pay for the renovations is an efficient way to improve the property.”

“HDF is very excited to be partnering with Connecticut Green Bank and C4C in the pre-development financing of an important energy efficiency initiative for St. Paul’s Flax Hill Co-op in Norwalk,” said Elissa A. Bard, Director of Multifamily Lending at HDF. “This project will ultimately bring important energy efficiency upgrades and energy savings for this 86-unit affordable property.”

The Pre-Development Energy Loan Program from HDF and the Connecticut Green Bank was created to promote clean energy and energy-related health and safety improvements in multifamily affordable housing properties across the State of Connecticut. This program includes funding from the MacArthur Foundation designated to address critical obstacles to making multifamily energy efficiency improvements, allowing borrowers to cover the costs of energy audits, opportunity assessments, property condition reports and other work necessary to secure permanent project financing.

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Manchester Housing Authority begins $2.7 million energy efficiency and solar PV project

Project includes one of the first and largest ground mounted solar-PV systems at a state housing authority

 

Manchester, CT (June 26, 2017) – The Housing Authority of the Town of Manchester announces the completion of a 125 kW ground mount solar photovoltaic (PV) system that produces electricity from the sun at Westhill Garden apartments. This is part of a $2.7 million project that improves the energy efficiency and reduces utility costs for 275 units of the Housing Authority’s affordable senior housing portfolio.  

Manchester Housing Authority was established in 1958 and includes 455 total housing units across four sites.

This solar PV system is the largest ground mounted system serving a housing authority in the state of Connecticut, and among the first at a state housing authority. The electricity generated will serve 199 of the complex’s apartments, as well as the housing authority office. The system is expected to produce energy savings of approximately $25,000 per year and provide additional revenue to the Housing Authority under a long-term Zero Emission Renewable Energy Credit (ZREC) contract between the Housing Authority and Eversource, which should generate approximately $12,800 annually for 15 years.

Under an Energy Performance Contract (EPC) approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Building Technologies Division of Siemens Industry, Inc. installed a variety of energy conservation measures for this project, including heating systems upgrades; heat source conversions (from electric to gas); water-conservation measures (such as low flow showerheads and faucet aerators); and electrical upgrades such as LED lighting. The HUD EPC program provides incentives to public housing authorities across the country to implement energy and water savings improvements to their housing units. By leveraging energy performance contracting, this cost-effective solution pays for infrastructure upgrades with guaranteed energy savings over time.

The entire $2.7 million energy upgrade project was funded with private capital using bonds arranged by the boutique investment bank Crews & Associates, including $1.3 million from the Housing Development Fund (HDF), a Stamford-based Community Development Financial Institution. HDF’s funds for the project came from a program related investment funded by the MacArthur Foundation and secured by the Connecticut Green Bank. 

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Financing Clean Energy in Affordable Housing (webinar recording)

Over the past several years, Connecticut Green Bank has partnered with the affordable housing sector and private capital providers to provide critical education, financing, technical assistance and resources that address barriers to deployment of clean energy projects in affordable housing properties. In March 2017, Connecticut Green Bank strengthened its commitment to the state’s low-to-moderate income residents by welcoming Betsy Crum, a veteran professional in affordable housing development and finance, to its board of directors.

The Green Bank Network held a webinar on the approaches the Connecticut Green Bank is taking to increase financing for clean energy in affordable housing properties and how Crum’s appointment to the Board will push the bank even further in its efforts.

The presenters were:

  • Betsy Crum, Executive Director of the Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development and Member, Connecticut Green Bank Board of Directors
  • Kerry E. O’Neill, Vice President of Residential Programs at Connecticut Green Bank
  • Kim Stevenson, Associate Director, Multifamily Housing at Connecticut Green Bank

The recording of the webinar is below.

 

 

 

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GRID Alternatives Launches Multifamily Affordable Solar Program in Connecticut

Collaboration with Connecticut Green Bank will open up solar, reduce energy costs for hundreds of multifamily buildings serving low-income families.

Solar panels are installed by GRID Alternatives at Fair Street Apartments in Norwalk.

April 27, 2017GRID Alternatives, America’s largest nonprofit solar installer, today announced expansion of its multifamily affordable solar program into the Connecticut market. The program helps affordable housing owners and operators reduce energy costs with solar, providing no-cost technical assistance, as well as turnkey solar design and installation services.

The expansion was announced today at a live solar installation on the 57-unit Fair Street Apartments in Norwalk. The project, financed by the Connecticut Green Bank, is one of the first of its kind in the state, and will provide over $360,000 in lifetime energy cost savings for affordable housing provider New Neighborhoods Inc. It also includes energy efficiency education for residents and hands-on solar workforce training for local job trainees and community college students.

Fair Street Apartments is part of a portfolio that GRID evaluated under its technical assistance program, which is provided at no cost through a grant from The JPB Foundation. Nearly 300 multifamily affordable housing buildings in the Connecticut

Volunteers from the Connecticut Green Bank helped install solar panels at the Norwalk site earlier this week.

Housing Finance Authority’s State-Sponsored Housing Portfolio have been evaluated for their solar potential.

The Connecticut Green Bank, which aims to accelerate investment in clean energy deployment in the state, will review the properties deemed suitable for solar and provide interested properties with financing for installation by GRID Alternatives or another qualified solar installer. The offering will expand solar deployment on Connecticut’s multifamily affordable housing stock, lowering operating costs while helping the state meet its goal of 27 percent renewable energy by 2020.

“Solar can make a huge financial difference for affordable housing owners, saving them money that can be applied to building upkeep and tenant services, and directly reducing rents in some cases,” said Peter Mandelstam, Executive Director of GRID Alternatives Tri-State, which serves New York, New Jersey and now Connecticut. “We are excited to partner with Connecticut in opening up solar access for this market.”

“By reducing the energy burden on multifamily affordable properties, we are ensuring inclusive prosperity in Connecticut’s clean energy economy,” said Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Connecticut Green Bank. “This partnership with GRID Alternatives not only helps put solar on suitable buildings, but offers local job training putting people to work. It’s a win-win.”

GRID’s ongoing national expansion efforts are supported by a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation. The Fair Street installation is additionally sponsored by NRG Energy, Ardsley Partners, and GRID Alternatives’ national equipment partners: SunPower, Enphase Energy, Jinko Solar, IronRidge, and Schneider Electric.

Multifamily housing owners and developers interested in learning more about GRID’s no-cost technical assistance and solar offerings can visit www.gridalternatives.org/multifamily.

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