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Kyocera Powers Net Zero Apartments, Honeywell Retrofits Public Housing

Kyocera logoKyocera Solar installed 338 kW made up of 1,400 modules on developer H.G. Fenton’s eco luxury apartments in San Diego, making the complex effectively net-zero for energy.

The 114 unit, four building Solterra complex is located in the Scripps Ranch suburb of San Diego and is the first net-zero residential unit in the city. Modules were installed on rooftops, carports and were also ground mounted.

H.G. Fenton worked with CleanTECH San Diego, an industry body that promotes clean technology, Smart City San Diego and local utility SDG&E to make it happen, in response to increasing requests from tenants to create sustainable buildings and lower their energy bills.

Residents will get notifications on their smartphones about their energy usage and will be able to adjust their thermostats remotely to optimize their usage.

In West Virginia, Honeywell will work on a $3.7 million energy efficiency retrofit for 900 public housing units in 13 complexes that will save the Huntington West Virginia Housing Authority $340,000 in annual operating and energy costs. It will install energy-efficient lighting, furnaces and hot water heaters, low-flow toilets and faucets, and update wall insulation to minimize air infiltration.

The housing authority has struck a 15-year financing deal with Honeywell that will help avoid tapping public funding.  Honeywell guarantees that the annual energy cost savings will pay for the retrofit.

Cash-strapped public entities tend to defer plans for much needed building improvements or they get creative in finding ways to fund them, says Paul Orzeske, president of Honeywell Building Solutions. The guaranteed energy savings performance contracts allow public entities to make significant, energy-saving improvements without making a capital investment, with the savings guaranteed by Honeywell.

The company has performed 5,000 retrofit projects globally that it says have netted $5 billion in energy savings for its clients.

Performance contracts are emerging as popular options for housing authorities in different parts of the US. In Massachusetts, the Brockton housing authority signed a $5.7 million contract with Ameresco.

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