Ann Arbor is moving forward to revitalize hundreds of public housing units in a visionary sustainable community project designed to lower utility costs and improve the quality of life for its residents, while acting as a “learning laboratory” and showcase for “green and healthy” residential construction. In partnership with an affordable housing developer, the Housing Commission expects its $55-60 million investment to save at least 20 percent in energy consumption, resulting in unique opportunities to put money back into its operating budget while locking in longer-term savings associated with holding these properties for 30-plus years. Just as importantly, it aims to protect the health of at-risk families, reduce childhood asthma and cardiac-pulmonary ailments, and reduce health care costs by minimizing toxic chemicals and improving the ventilation in the buildings. It also expects to reduce operating costs and promote resource conservation by using more durable, sustainable building materials.
“These affordable housing developments are physical representations of our core values as a community,” said Mayor Christopher Taylor. “Economic diversity is good for everyone in society, not just those who require affordable housing.” The entire community will benefit from the creation of local jobs and from the community center which will education residents and neighbors about climate resiliency, self-reliance and food security.
Project completion is expected by the end of 2016, but the critical next step is to engage community participation from many different partners and stakeholders, especially residents and students. Stay tuned to learn from the progress being made in Ann Arbor as you engage your own communities around climate solutions.
The Ann Arbor Housing Commission is taking steps to make the city’s public housing significantly greener — and more affordable.
As part of extensive renovations to the many apartment sites it manages, the commission is making a number of energy-efficiency upgrades, some of which already can be seen at sites such as Miller Manor and Baker Commons.
“At all of the sites, we are replacing all of the old light fixtures, furnaces, boilers, appliances, etc., with energy-efficient models, including the elevators,” said Jennifer Hall, Housing Commission executive director.
“Based on the energy audit modeling that was done, we expect to see at least a 20 percent savings in energy consumption,” Hall said.
The commission even has plans to install solar panels atop the Miller Manor apartment building on Miller Avenue, just west of downtown, in the spring.
There also are talks of doing solar projects at a few other Housing Commission sites on Platt Road, Maple Road and Pennsylvania Avenue.
The Housing Commission is partnering with Norstar Development as its co‐developer in the revitalization of hundreds of public housing units in Ann Arbor.