Jamboree Energy Efficiency Efforts Lower Property Operating Expenses, Raises LEED Certification Bar

IRVINE, CA – Although electricity costs continue to rise and are a major part of operating expenses for its multifamily properties, Jamboree Housing Corporation reports that, based on an internal review of its 2013 operating expenses, the combination of energy efficient design and advanced construction techniques used in its newer developments does in fact reduce utility costs.

Irvine, CA-headquartered  Jamboree is one of California’s leading community development organizations specializing in affordable housing. Currently, the company has $233 million in affordable housing projects in its development pipeline and a $1 billion asset portfolio that includes the development of and/or ownership interest in more than 7,400 homes in more than 75 California communities.

According to the annual operations review, electricity costs for the company’s properties in 2013 increased by 9.92% compared to a 17.71% hike in 2012. As a result of the reduced energy and other utility costs such as water and sewer, utility costs went down dramatically from a 12.67% increase in 2012 to a 2.31% bump in 2013. Jamboree’s overall operating expenses for 2013 were 1% less than the previous year.

Five of Jamboree’s newer Southern California properties are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Homes certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, two of which just received their certification – Birch Hills Apartment Homes in Brea, rated LEED for Homes Platinum (the highest rating), and Parking Landing in Buena Park, rated LEED for Homes Gold. The other three LEED properties are Bonterra Apartment Homes, also in Brea, certified LEED for Homes Gold; Courier Place in Claremont, rated LEED for Homes Platinum, and Doria II Apartment Homes in Irvine, rated LEED for Homes Gold.

“Although there is a lot of discussion about the value of energy efficiency and the importance of having properties meet specific energy efficiency criteria such as LEED, it is encouraging to see the actual results of energy efficiency in the properties that we build and operate,” said Laura Archuleta, Jamboree president. “We are proud of our energy efficiency achievements as represented by these two newly certified developments and we firmly believe that wise use of energy in all of its forms and measurements is here to stay in both the market- rate and affordable housing industries.”

Established by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance  green buildings. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. 

Birch Hills Apartment Homes
Completed in October 2013 and located in the new La Floresta master-planned  community being developed in Brea by Birch / Kraemer, LLC, an affiliate of Chevron Land & Development, Birch Hills Apartment Homes is an urban infill property adjacent to an 18-hole executive golf course. With its LEED for Homes Platinum rating, its energy saving components include:
  • A connected array of photovoltaic panels on the ground level to power common areas;
  • A solar thermal array to heat water in common areas (pool and laundry);
  • ENERGY STAR refrigerators, dishwashers, microwaves and lighting fixtures in each unit;
  • Flow reducers in kitchen and bathroom faucets;</p>
  • Water efficient low-flow toilets and tankless water heaters;</p>
  • Use of low-VOC interior paint and paperless drywall in bathrooms;</p>
  • CRI Green Label low-VOC carpeting, underlayment and low-VOC adhesives, and
  • Efficient landscape irrigation and drought-tolerant/native plant materials.

“LEED Platinum status is not easily achieved," said Kyle Millar, NCARB, project director at Irvine-based KTGY Group, Inc., Architecture + Planning. "Through an extensive design process and aggressive bidding, we were able to include such sustainable features as low-flow plumbing fixtures, recycled materials, energy efficient appliances and lighting, water-efficient landscaping, and low VOC paints. Photovoltaic arrays, solar thermal systems and tankless water heaters required a more significant up-front investment, but will substantially lower building operation costs for the life of the project.

“One of the key elements in the energy efficiency package is the use of a portion of the site facing the adjacent canal which is on such a significant slope that it was nearly considered wasted space,” Millar added. “However, the angle, orientation and lack of shading created an ideal opportunity for a very efficient photovoltaic system – an opportunity of which we took full advantage. Birch Hills is a great example that sustainability is achievable with the right approach and a dedicated team focused on a common goal.”

Birch Hills is a walkable community near major retail, parks, community services, schools and robust employment. This new property encompasses eight three-story buildings with 115 garden-style apartment homes and a full-service recreation building. Arranged around central courtyards and linked by tree-lined, pedestrian friendly landscaped walks, Birch Hills is adjacent to the Birch Hills Golf Course, a public executive course.

The Spanish-influenced  structures include 22 one-bedroom, 47 two-bedroom, and 46 three-bedroom apartments and feature tuck-under garages for each apartment along with additional surface parking areas for residents and guests. Rental rates are affordable to families with household incomes between 30% and 50% of the area median income (AMI).

Completed in September 2013, Park Landing Apartment Homes exceeds California’s CalGreen Title 24 energy efficiency standards by more than 21%. The innovative property features a proprietary architectural design – called New Block™ (patent pending) – developed by Newman Garrison + Partners for residential projects on two- to four-acre urban infill sites that revolves around a 22,000 square-foot green deck over the interior asphalt parking area. This is the first green deck incorporated as part of a residential property in Orange County or the Inland Empire.

“A key element of Park Landing’s New Block™  sustainable design is the green deck  that helps reduce the heat island effect of the asphalt parking area and is populated with a variety of plantings that reduce and filter storm water runoff,” explained Kevin Newman, CEO of Newman Garrison + Partners. “The green deck also addresses one of today’s biggest design issues for a dense urban environment and that is providing enough open space to meet most cities' infill development requirements, which New Block™  does.”

Utilizing the LiveRoof® planting system, the green deck includes a mixture of native drought-tolerant plants, succulents, and tall grasses that promote biodiversity and carbon sequestration, which is the absorption of carbon dioxide - a main ingredient in greenhouse gas. Additionally, the park-like setting provides Park Landing residents with outdoor socializing and recreational space including Jamboree’s (and one of Orange County’s) first Imagination Playgrounds©  as well as barbecue areas, bocce ball court, and a walking trail.

Other energy efficient components include:

  • “Compartmentalization” design, construction  and testing of units to ensure very low air leakage to maximize energy efficiency;
  • ENERGY STAR refrigerators, dishwashers and lighting in each unit;
  • Use of low-VOC interior paint;
  • Flow  reducers  in  kitchen  and  bathroom  faucets  plus  ultra  low-flow  toilets  and  tankless  water heaters;
  • CRI Green Label low-VOC carpeting, underlayment and low-VOC adhesives, and
  • Efficient landscape irrigation and drought-tolerant plant materials (25%   more efficient than traditional landscape).

Park Landing is a four-story apartment community that reflects distinctive urban design. The 70-unit property consists of six one-bedroom, 41 two-bedroom, and 23 three-bedroom  floor plans. Rental rates are affordable to families with household incomes between 30% and 60% of the area median income (AMI). The property’s transit-oriented  location on two major bus lines provides 185 public transit ride opportunities to major work centers in Orange County and downtown Los Angeles. The urban location also responds to California’s greenhouse gas reduction law SB-375 requiring new residential development to be located near public transportation.

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Discussed in this article: 2014, 2014

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