Groundbreaking Retrofits for Affordable Housing
  • GAS USE REDUCTION across 6 properties


  • electric USE REDUCTION across 6 properties


  • Properties to be completed by January 2020


Mercy Housing, a national affordable housing nonprofit leader, was interested in lowering operating costs while also keeping tenants comfortable in an affordable and sustainable way. Part of the solution was to upgrade buildings to use less energy and water while delivering better comfort. But securing funds to pay for efficiency upgrades outside of a refinance year was difficult as Mercy Housing preserves, develops, and manages low-income communities. Even with incentives that are available from utilities and the government, Mercy Housing needed a more creative solution.

Mercy Housing partnered with Bright Power and Affordable Community Energy Services Company (ACE) to help upgrade around 80 properties – which represents the majority of their California portfolio. Through our ongoing collaboration, Mercy Housing is able to utilize a “Pay from Savings” financing model to complete efficiency improvements when they are needed most, rather than waiting for refinancing or taking out a secondary loan. As Mercy Housing’s energy and water management partner, Bright Power used the data in EnergyScoreCards™, our cloud-based energy analysis platform, to understand areas of underperformance and to determine which properties had high-impact opportunities for improvement.

Mercy Housing, Bright Power, and ACE prioritized phases of work based on factors like building performance, location, and available government and utility incentive programs (California’s Low Income Weatherization Program). ACE’s innovative “Pay from Savings” financing approach, with funding through Reinvestment Fund, gave Mercy Housing the ability to complete the needed upgrades and use project savings to pay for the improvements over a 10-year period.

Project Details

  • Upgrade LED lighting in common areas & resident apartments
  • Install heat pump hot water heating systems
  • Install high-efficiency heating systems
  • Install Variable Speed Drive (VSD) recirculation pump for domestic hot water
  • Install VSD for pool & spa pumps
  • Install DHW and new steam cycle controls
  • Retrocommission existing steam cycle controls
  • Install vending misers
  • Install Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs)
  • Install orifice plates
  • Service steam traps
  • Insulate DHW & heating pipes
  • Install occupancy sensor thermostats in resident apartments
  • Replace tub diverters
  • Implement low-flow fixtures on faucets & shower heads
  • Install ENERGY STAR washers & refrigerators

“Working with Bright Power and ACE on this project has been a positive experience for Mercy Housing. The team’s experience in implementing efficiency in affordable housing was invaluable to the successful implementation of the design and construction phases of this project.” — Caitlin Rood, Environmental Sustainability Director, Mercy Housing