D.C.’s First Healthy and Affordable Housing Community with Geothermal Energy


The Washington Informer
Friday, 01 October 2010 00:00

Located in the Washington Highlands community, Wheeler Terrace is the first affordable housing complex in the District expected to meet both the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria for affordable housing and the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standard. Wheeler Terrace Apartments is also the first HUD demonstration project to evaluate the public health impact of multi-family green retrofits on low-income housing residents.

“Enterprise is a proud and long-standing partner with CPDC in creating and preserving quality affordable housing for Washington, D.C. residents,” said David Bowers, vice president and Impact Market Leader, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. “Wheeler Terrace now provides a safe, healthy and environmentally sustainable place for local families and children to call home. We have proven that affordable housing can be built to higher standards to provide residents with permanent health and environmental benefits.”

Originally built in 1947 as housing for veterans, Wheeler Terrace Apartments had substantially deteriorated over the years. The $32 million redevelopment features the green renovation of seven buildings with 116 affordable homes and a newly created Green Opportunities Center with interactive green education exhibits and community space.

Wheeler Terrace now has a 25 percent reduction in energy consumption achieved through a ground source geothermal heating and cooling system, new energy-efficient white roofs, low-E reflective windows and energy-star-rated appliances and lighting. In addition, construction waste was minimized as 100 percent of the existing structural elements and 80 percent of the non-structural elements were preserved or reused. Wheeler Terrace also features improved ventilation systems, an integrated pest management program and a sealed building envelope to significantly improve indoor air quality to reduce incidences of allergies and asthma in residents.

Enterprise provided several types of financing to CPDC for the Wheeler Terrace redevelopment, including a $4 million acquisition loan from the Enterprise Loan Fund and a $25,000 pre-development loan to the Wheeler Terrace Apartments Tenant Association to cover legal and consultant fees. Enterprise also provided a $50,000 Enterprise Green Communities grant. HUD also provided a nearly $1 million grant to the National Center for Healthy Housing to evaluate the effect of the green and healthy upgrades on Wheeler Terrace residents. Financing was also provided by the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development, the D.C. Housing Finance Agency, PNC, Union Bank and United Bank. The Home Depot Foundation also provided grant funding.

“CPDC is proud to be at the forefront of this type of sustainable development," said Michael J. Pitchford, CPDC’s president and CEO. “Working with the Wheeler Terrace residents, community and our partners in the government and private sector, we have greatly improved the property, made it environmentally efficient and ensured its affordability for the long term. As a company, we have learned a lot from this effort, and we look forward to bringing the benefits of this learning and our experiences in sustainable development to communities throughout the area.”


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