Net-Zero Community Opens in New York

Solara Apartments residents will benefit from predictable living costs and utilize clean energy solutions, thanks to solar power, electric vehicle charging stations and networked smart building controls.
Image via Pixabay

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority announced the completion of the first phase of Solara Apartments. To facilitate the construction of similar projects, NYSERDA will provide $15 million through the next round of the New York State Consolidated Funding Application process to expand the state’s Net-Zero Energy for Economic Development program.

Solara Apartments is located at 291 N. Thompson St. in Schenectady County, New York, and was designed by Bruns Realty Group to offer its residents eco-friendly living. The multifamily project is built to net-zero construction standards and upon completion will total 248 units featuring renewable and energy-efficient technologies. Tenants at the property will benefit from predictable living costs and utilize clean energy solutions including solar, electric vehicle charging stations, as well as networked smart building controls.

Eco Luxury Apartments

The community produces all the energy needed on site, having virtually no carbon footprint. To do so, it uses three methods of solar energy production:

  • Solar carports to cover residents’ vehicles and charge them too (free of charge)
  • Solar thermal panels that use the sun’s energy to heat water for the domestic hot water system
  • Solar shades on the windows and larger windows on the southern facing sides of the buildings to capture more solar energy.

The unit mix consists of one- and two-bedroom floorplans featuring walk-in closets, walk-in showers, private patios, superior sound insulation, washers and dryers. On the energy-efficiency side, the apartments are equipped with smart home technologies such as keyless entry, control of locks, lights and other compatible devices, premium GE EnergyStar appliances, all LED lighting, EPA Indoor Air Plus certification—requires use of low/no VOC materials and finishes, continuous fresh-air ventilation with smart controls that regulate humidity and monitor carbon dioxide and VOC levels.

Community amenities include concierge package room, bicycle storage room, a dog park, a clubhouse with pub, fitness center, community room and lounge for resident functions, dog wash station, patio lounge area with fire pit and barbeque area and solar heated pool.

“Solara is an exciting new development that builds upon the success of our first net-zero development, netZero Village, with better performance, high tech and luxury amenities and features. These two projects prove that low carbon development is not only commercially viable but profitable and hugely popular with our customers. Our hope is their success will convince other builders to join the low carbon movement,” said David Bruns, owner of Bruns Realty Group, in prepared remarks.

According to a New Buildings Institute report funded by NYSERDA, New York State leads the Northeast in net-zero buildings, with 27 documented ongoing and completed net-zero building projects and a total of 132 net-zero, high-performance and passive house building projects.