Multifamily development L.A.’s first fully self-sufficient rentals
Photo courtesy of Ed LaCasse Photography
In the heart of downtown Los Angeles, Houston-based developer Hanover Co. spotted an opportunity to paint a new class of multifamily, sustainable housing into the city’s rapidly evolving skyline. Named for the lively intersection at West Olympic Boulevard and South Olive Street, where the mixed-use development stands, the Hanover Olympic opened its doors to tenants in July with a unique option for environmentally conscious renters.
Dubbed the “eco-green” apartments, 20 of the Olympic’s 263 units are each powered by 10 rooftop solar panels, making them the city’s first net zero energy rental units, reports Builder. The panels produce enough energy (approximately 4,700 kW/hours per unit, per year) for each unit to be self-sustaining and to send power back to the utility for monthly credits on tenants’ energy bills that vary throughout the year.
“There are other multifamily projects that may feature solar panels on the roof, or have solar panels feeding a house meter, but this is the first time that a solar-powered, net zero system powers individual units in this city,” said Ryan Hamilton, acquisitions and development partner for Hanover.
The solar-powered units feature a slightly different aesthetic than the standard plans, and cost more to rent. Flooring, cabinets, backsplashes and baths feature sustainable materials and finishes in earth-toned hues, and the apartments are fitted with recycled-glass countertops and reclaimed hardwood flooring throughout.
Ranging from 539 square feet to 1,342 square feet, the studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom eco-green units are equipped with GE Energy Star appliances, dual-flush toilets, low-flow showerheads and fixtures, and LED lighting, as well as high-performance argon gas-insulated windows. Nest thermostats and mounted iPad mini energy trackers provide a visual reference of how much energy each unit’s solar panels are generating versus how much energy the apartment is consuming.
According to Hanover’s collected data, these water- and energy-saving features contribute to a 15 percent reduction in tenants’ electricity bills.
“We developed the Olympic as an internal pilot program to determine whether these types of enhanced sustainable features are ones that residents will find attractive, and whether there is a demand in the marketplace for them,” Hamilton said.
Signs point to yes, as Hamilton says all of the complex’s units, which range in rent from $2,198 to $3,476 per month, are leasing quickly, including the eco-units. The LEED-pending and CALGreen code-compliant building is targeted toward the growing population of Southern Californians who are willing to pay a bit more for sustainability.
Although multifamily buildings taller than three stories don’t have to meet California’s net zero mandate until 2030, Hanover’s step toward shrinking Los Angeles’ giant carbon footprint sets a sound new standard to follow in the near future.
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