Green Affordable Housing: Los Vecinos

THE PROJECT 

Los Vecinos is a 42-unit affordable housing project that meets nearly all of its annual electricity demand through 93 kW of on-site solar photovoltaic power. Located along a light rail line in the southern part of the San Diego metropolitan area, this LEED Platinum certified project is the second Zero Energy Affordable Housing project in the State of California.

OUR PARTICIPATION

Through our Greening of Affordable Housing Initiative, we work extensively with non-profit community development corporations, architects, financial institutions, and government agencies at the local, state, and national level. 

PROJECT DETAILS

Los Vecinos is a 42-unit affordable housing project that meets nearly all of its annual electricity demand through 93 kW of on-site solar photovoltaic power. Located along a light rail line in the southern part of the San Diego metropolitan area, this LEED Platinum certified project is the second Zero Energy Affordable Housing project in the State of California. Solar panels and a transit-accessible location are only part of Los Vecinos’ green story. The project, located on the site of a former dilapidated motel that had the largest number of police calls for any single address in Chula Vista, is a testament to what can be accomplished by a determined development and design team that stands by its commitment to extremely high performance standards.

Los Vecinos, developed by Wakeland Housing and Development Corp., consists of one-, two- and three-bedroom units on three floors as well as a 1,500-square-foot community center, where residents will have access to programs on health and wellness, finance and computer literacy and going green. Families earning between $16,600 and $58,800 will reside there. Each apartment gets a certain number of solar panels hard-wired directly so it and gets whatever credit the system produces; the bigger the apartment, the more panels.

The Los Vecinos robust tenant education program ensures that the low-resource-use characteristics of the project are complemented by low-impact resident behavior. Furthering its educational impact to the macro level, Los Vecinos illustrates a number of barriers to implementing low-energy projects and successfully makes the case to have those barriers removed. In doing so, Los Vecinos further solidifies a business model for green building that affordable housing developers are using across California and the nation.

GREEN FEATURES OF THE PROJECT

Energy:

  • tankless water heaters
  • hydronic heating
  • Energy Star appliances
  • 100% compact fluorescent lighting
  • cool roof
  • low-E windows
  • third-party verified quality insulation installation and duct leakage
  • exceeds Title 24 (2005) by 43%

Renewable Energy:

93 kW photovoltaic system supplies electricity to all units, common areas, and parking areas

Water:

  • no turf (all-synthetic turf play area)
  • permeable concrete and filtered downspouts
  • native plants
  • high efficiency irrigation
  • roof water capture for irrigation
  • low-flow fixtures
  • dual-flush toilets
  • water sub-metering / resident feedback

Indoor Air Quality:

  • low-VOC paint
  • Energy Star ceiling fans
  • moisture-sensing bathroom fans
  • natural linoleum floors
  • urea formaldehyde-free cabinets and countertops
  • walk-off mats at building entrances
  • 100% smoke-free interior (units & common areas)

Materials:

  • 20% reduction in framing waste
  • borate-treated lumber to inhibit mold and pests
  • recycled content materials in play area
  • fly ash in concrete

Resident Life:

  • ongoing tenant education program: "Simple Green Living in a Small Space"
  • residents provided a green house cleaning ingredients and instruction book
  • public art program, “Art Verde!,” explores and celebrates a green way of life
  • bilingual LEED training on building systems and features for residents and building manager

MORE INFORMATION

Photos of the project

Video on the project

CASE STUDY

PDF of our case study