Net Zero – H38 Apartments

Client: Real America, LLC / Net Zero – H38 Apartments

Budget: $1,500,000

Completed:  October 2020

Details: In 2016, H38 East Apartments was chosen by the Lt. Governor’s office as a Moving Forward 2.0 workforce housing development. The purpose of H38 East Apartments is to assist families in improving their lives by providing the necessary support to all residents to reach their life goals. Residents are paired with a Life Skills Coach to complete an action plan for obtaining new educational or job training certificates, participate in job preparedness workshops, and similar assistance programs that are provided by H38 East Apartments and its partners. Additionally, the H38 East Apartments was to be a Net-Zero property.

James Babcock, Inc was awarded this challenging project which required many months of design to establish the amount of solar production necessary to meet an annual net-zero energy consumption. Our company calculated the individual electrical usage of each apartments general power and lighting loads along with the required power usage for the mechanical systems. Calculations were then added for the Amenities Building and site lighting. Occupancy sensors were used in every room of the apartments and amenities building, and energy efficient appliances were installed to minimize the annual power usage. Once we determined the number of solar panels required to produce the annual 300 megawatts of power, the next task was to design the installation within the site limits.  Every rooftop was utilized along with any remaining unused ground on the property. The installation on the property grounds had numerous design changes due to an approximate 1.5-acre drainage swell. Very muddy conditions and rain caused 162 ground mounted solar panels to be relocated from the original design to different areas on the property.

In additional to the solar power installation, our company performed full design build services on the electrical in the buildings and onsite, fiber optics and interior communications cabling, and fire alarm system.

Quality control on the solar panel installation was an essential part of this project. Over 600 solar panels were installed utilizing 8 solar power inverters. Our installation team implemented a quality control check list specific to this project that allowed our team to be confident when it was ready to be energized.

The entire site has been in use at 100% occupancy for half of a seasonal year.  We have monitored the solar production and mechanical systems power usage constantly since the time every went online.  Solar monitoring software is being utilized to view the systems production in real-time daily.  With this, we have  confirmation that the site is ahead of expectations to meet the goal of being a net-zero property.