While such eco-apartments are not new to California, this development appears to be the first in which only a portion of the total number of apartments are designed to be net-zero. Rents on these units are higher than on the standard apartments, but trackable utility savings defray the higher rents.
The 20-unit project, now leasing, is based on a 215 panel, 65.5 kilowatt photovoltaic system, roof-mounted on the 263-unit building. Energy consumption in the eco units is primarily monitored on wall-mounted iPad Minis, but is also accessible through mobile iPads. AC is controlled by Nest thermostats, that are able to learn settings and adapt automatically to seasonal temperature changes. Excess energy is provided to the grid, generating net energy bank credits.
The monitoring system also shows water usage and the entire building is certified as CALGreen, indicating that it meets environmental requirements for water efficiency and other environmentally-friendly design elements of the California Green Building Code.
TCA’s Green Task Group is led by Frank Pasker, AIA, LEED-AP BD+C, along with 25 LEED accredited professionals on staff involved in researching, promoting and implementing industry-leading sustainable techniques. The architects maintain a Los Angeles office.