Paradise at Parkside, an affordable housing complex in the Kenilworth-Mayfair neighborhood managed by CT Group and owned by Telesis Corporation, embarked on a journey to enhance energy efficiency within the property. Their ambitious goals included renovating units with energy-efficient HVAC systems, implementing lighting projects, and installing solar arrays. The relationship with the DCSEU began in 2012 with incentives to install compact fluorescent lighting, faucet aerators, and low-flow showerheads in their units. These initial steps laid the groundwork for more ambitious initiatives and improvements in the future.
In 2020 and 2021, Paradise at Parkside achieved a significant milestone by installing 24 Community Renewable Energy Facilities (CREFs) with the DCSEU, about of total capacity across 15 buildings in Ward 7. This project was a part of the Department of Energy & Environment's (DOEE) Solar for All Community Solar program, providing approximately 514 income-qualified households across the District -- 99 of which are households within the complex -- with access to solar energy and the promise of reduced energy bills over the next 15 years.
Furthering their commitment to energy efficiency and electrification, Paradise at Parkside embarked on extensive HVAC enhancements and electrification upgrades in 2021. Their goal was to replace their buildings’ Magic Packs, an all-in-one gas heating and electric cooling system, with energy-efficient electric heat pumps. With 653 units to upgrade, they converted the first 80 units on their own. These heat pumps both heat and cool but are far more efficient and eliminate the use of natural gas. Through multiple phases of the DCSEU's custom incentives, Income Qualified Energy Fund (IQEF), Affordable Housing Retrofit Accelerator (AHRA) program, and work with DCSEU-approved contractor John G. Webster, they successfully integrated heat pumps into approximately 343 additional units and completed an energy audit in 2022. Heat pumps for the remaining 198 units were purchased with funds from AHRA with installation by John G. Webster planned for fiscal year 2024.
Fred Killian, representing CT Group, highlights the project's multifaceted benefits, stating, “We're doing two things. We're providing better, less expensive heating and cooling for the residents, but also replacing units completely and cutting down our repair costs and replacement costs.”
Residents of Paradise at Parkside have experienced the tangible benefits of these energy-efficient upgrades. Chandra Williams, a long-term resident of over 18 years, rejoices in her significantly reduced utility bills, which dropped from $140 to around $26. She also notes the improved air quality, remarking, “It's beautiful. You can really tell the difference.”
Tyketa Barnett, who has been a resident since 2015 and received a new HVAC unit last year, shares her enhanced-comfort experience. Occupying she enjoys a more consistent bill, as opposed to the previous fluctuation. She says that it takes less energy to heat and cool her home, and the air circulates more efficiently, ensuring the entire unit stays comfortably conditioned.
Fred Killian from CT Group expresses gratitude for the pivotal role played by the DCSEU, stating, “DCSEU being able to step in with technical assistance and incentives over the years has been super helpful.” The efforts and upgrades made by Paradise at Parkside stand as a testament to the positive impact of collaborative energy efficiency, electrification, and renewable energy initiatives, benefiting both residents and property management alike.