Funding for First Zero-Net Energy, LGBT-Friendly Senior Housing

Lavender Courtyard received nearly $3 million from the Sacramento City Council.

Lavender Courtyard Rendering 10.2015Sacramento, Calif.—Lavender Courtyard, the first zero-net energy (ZNE) affordable housing in the nation planned for seniors and to be LGBT-welcoming, recently received nearly $3 million from the Sacramento City Council, where the 53-unit apartment development will be located. Mutual Housing, the developer, also applied for funding through the state’s Cap and Trade Program, and plans to apply for housing tax credits.

To help the project get off the ground, Wells Fargo gave a grant to develop a financing package and community outreach. First Citizens Bank gave a below-market-interest, pre-development loan, and Bank of America has given two grants earmarked for the project.

Mutual Housing finished construction on the first U.S. Department of Energy certified Zero-Energy Ready Home multifamily rental community in the nation last year. The development, which is in Woodland, Calif., is designated for agriculture workers and their families.

ZNE-related specifications of Lavender Courtyard will include a photovoltaic system to offset common and tenant electricity loads; ductless, mini-split heat pumps; enhanced exterior wall and attic insulation; Energy Star-rated cool roof system with a radiant barrier; and 200 percent roof venting with sealed attic penetrations and Energy Star-compliant windows.

Founded in 1988, Mutual Housing California develops and operates sustainable rental housing. A member of NeighborWorks America—a Congressionally chartered nonprofit that supports community development nationwide—Mutual Housing has more than 3,000 residents, nearly half of whom are children.

Sacramento has a particularly strong need for affordable housing. The city is among the leaders nationwide in apartment rental rate increases, according to Yardi Matrix. Over the past three months, rents have risen by 1 percent, an increase that was twice the national average.

Moreover, during the last 12 months, rents increased 17 percent in Midtown—where the Mutual Housing Sacramento development will be—and 10 percent overall. “Without the proposed apartment community, even more seniors will be displaced by rising rents in the central city,” said Mutual Housing California CEO Rachel Iskow.