Mutual Housing California Achieves Zero Net Energy in Woodland

Congratulations to ECOS Member organization Mutual Housing California for being the first multi-family affordable rental development in the nation to receive the U.S. Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Homes certification. California Housing Partnership Corporation’s (CHPC) Green Rental Home Energy Efficiency Network released a case study that highlights Mutual Housing’s success in designing Spring Lake, a 62-unit development for farmworkers in Woodland.

Spring Lake produces as much energy as they use, and has reached between 36.5% and 40.8% above 2008 Title 24 energy requirements.  The property received $5.5 million in permanent funding from the USDA by committing to Zero Net Efficiency.

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Cordova Hills Development Project

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Cordova Hills

Ron Alvarado looks over a portion of his Cordova Hills property. (Photo by Randy Pench, Sacramento Bee, 2012.)

This project is classic leapfrog sprawl development with no adjacent development, and lies outside of the recently adopted Sacramento region Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (MTP/SCS). The enticement of the major regional amenity of a private university gave the Sacramento County Board of supervisors cover to approve the destruction of some of the finest remaining vernal pools in the Sacramento Valley. However, there is currently no university interested in the site, and there is general consensus that finding such a university is unlikely at best. The Environmental Impact Report only analyzed the “project as proposed” which included the university, ignoring significant additional impacts associated with the “no university” scenario and the mitigations to address them.

On March 1, 2013, ECOS and the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit challenging Sacramento County’s approving the Cordova Hills project. You can help support our effort by donating to ECOS’s legal fund (see sidebar).

In May 2014, ClimatePlan covered Cordova Hills in their review of statewide implementation of Sustainable Communities Strategies.

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