LIWP works to leverage incentive programs and deliver deeper savings for residents and property owner at Florence Avenue Villas

Los Angeles, CA | 20 2-BR and 3-BR units | Built in 1994

In 2018, Century Housing utilized the Low-Income Weatherization Program (LIWP) for Multifamily to complete an extensive energy efficiency retrofit at Florence Avenue Villas aimed at significantly reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions while also working to lower energy bill costs for residents. Florence Avenue Villas is located in a disadvantaged community (DAC) and serves low-income families. As part of its no-cost comprehensive technical assistance, the LIWP team worked with Century Housing staff and the Los Angeles Better Buildings Challenge to develop a comprehensive scope that leveraged multiple funding sources to go above and beyond the standard level of upgrades to significantly reduce energy use and deliver meaningful benefits to both owner and residents.

VNEM as a means of expanding clean energy benefits & improving solar equity in the City of Los Angeles

The existing scope of work included several resident-benefitting measures including dual-pane windows, a cool roof to improve summertime comfort, in-unit LED lighting, high-efficiency ducted heat pumps, a duct sealing system, and upgraded ENERGY STAR refrigerators. While the Florence Avenue Villas retrofit is a clean energy success story, even greater benefits to residents could have been realized through the installation of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system. However, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) does not yet offer virtual net energy metering (VNEM), a mechanism to allocate solar credits between tenant units and common area loads. Without VNEM or an alternative mechanism, Century Housing and others cannot further reduce their residents’ energy cost burden and improve solar access and equity in the LADWP service area.

In a scenario where LADWP makes available VNEM or an alternative mechanism, the modeled savings for a solar PV system at Florence Avenue Villas could result in an additional annual energy cost savings of $7,900 for the 20 households at the property, with 70% of solar production allocated to residents and 30% allocated to the common area — which would result in energy usage offsets of 68% for residents and 75% for owners. For this reason, LIWP supports the implementation of an LADWP VNEM policy.