The Paisano Green Community in El Paso, Texas, will open on Earth Day in 2012. The nation’s first Net-Zero energy multifamily for-rent development project is funded by an $8.25 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), along with $1.6 million from Housing Authority of Central El Paso and a $500,000 loan from the City of El Paso.
The community contains a typical mix of unit types including studio, one and two bedroom homes. What’s not typical are the 92-foot wind turbines or the $8 annual utility bills. The site plan consists of four, three-story buildings and a row of nine duplex buildings, all of which utilize rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity generating systems. The Housing Authority is taking advantage of recent net-metering legislation, which allows the site to sell excess power to the local utility provider at a competitive rate. In order to overcome the height restriction for the wind turbines, the zoning was modified to designate the site “general mixed use.” Units will be assigned to seniors already living in housing authority complexes via a lottery system.
It should be noted that first net-zero energy multifamily for-sale community, a 10-unit townhome development in Issaquah, Washington, coined Z-Home just opened last month, with home prices ranging from $400,000-600,000. From public senior housing to high-end for sale housing, the market is demanding green, not just in marketing, but in real energy savings.