solar panels on roof

Residents Enjoy Cost and Energy Savings thanks to our Green Hope Initiatives

Government incentives and partner relationships to pay for “green” home renovations that reduce energy and water consumption are crucial to combatting climate change. Unfortunately, many of these programs aren’t set up to serve the one-third of Americans who rent their homes. That means many residents of affordable housing miss out on major costs and energy savings.

At Mercy Housing, we work hard to ensure that affordable housing residents can take part in the movement to live more sustainably. In 2023, we’re making some big renovations that will save energy and reduce utility costs for residents.

Our Green Hope program was designed to reduce the consumption of natural resources, reduce waste, and create healthier living environments for residents. The Green Hope team helps layer different financial incentive programs so that upgrades stay affordable. Green Hope guides us in all aspects of our operations, including incorporating sustainable design in new developments.

“California has a unique program designed to improve solar energy access for residents with low incomes, and we’re taking advantage of it to install arrays on 11 properties around the state,” said Jackie Slocombe, Director of Environmental Sustainability for Mercy Housing, Inc. “The Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) program requires that building owners pass on at least 51% of cost savings to renters. We’re going much farther by passing on 80-90% of those cost savings. Savings will differ across properties, but we’re anticipating many residents will see a monthly reduction in their energy bill of around $40 a month.”

Detecting and fixing water leaks in real-time is another great opportunity to reduce water waste for properties. Green Hope has launched several programs to help properties find leaky sinks, showers, and toilets and get them fixed by providing real-time alerts to property staff. Installing sensors and tracking usage month-to-month can make a major difference, especially in large buildings.

“Leaking toilets can waste an unbelievable amount of water – and in a multifamily building with lots of bathrooms, the impact can be shocking,” said Jackie. “We’ve had properties where we fixed two or three leaking toilets and ended up cutting water usage in half.”

Green Hope Kids V2

The most important part of any sustainability upgrade is communicating with residents to make sure changes are clear, equitable, and welcome.

“We work with property site staff to make sure residents know what’s going on in their communities and the way it’s going to affect their lives and their wallets,” said Jackie. “If our cities and states really want to take on climate challenges, residents of affordable housing have to be an active part of the solution.”

Thanks to our Green Hope partners and vendors:

  • California’s Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) Program
  • GRID Alternatives
  • SunRun
  • Sensor Industries
  • Pacific Institute
  • Bonneville Environmental Foundation