LOS ANGELES — Promise Energy celebrated the installation of the largest solar water heating system in the city of Norwalk at the grand opening of the Norwalk Tower, an 11-story 185-unit affordable housing retrofit project.

Developed by Preservation Partners Development (PPD) and Innovative Housing Opportunities (IHO), the renovation was completed by Santa Monica-based construction company ICON Builders. Norwalk Tower provides an affordable home for a community of Asian-American seniors, many who have lived in the building for 10 years or more. The building’s retrofit was funded by low-income housing tax credits along with a loan from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Kelly Sands, president of ICON Builders, said, “I think we’re most proud of the fact that the owners allowed us to do a beautiful improvement to the exterior shell. You can clearly see the difference, and the solar water heating system by Promise Energy is a remarkable feature. It’s visible for miles around, and increases the aesthetics of the building with its unique appearance.”

Carin Schmidt, development partner at Preservation Partners Development, noted, “At the Norwalk Tower project we successfully transformed the property to enhance livability and sustainability for the residents and building for years to come. To meet our financing requirements, we had promised a 20 percent improvement over current energy use, and we actually exceeded that goal. With the help of the solar water heating system by Promise Energy, the building now performs nearly 23.5 percent better than it did before.”

At 36 collectors, this solar system is capable of heating thousands of gallons of water per day and will offset 26.5 metric tons (56,000 pounds) of carbon dioxide annually.

Jonas Villalba, vice president of project development for Promise Energy, was the system’s designer. “This project was particularly challenging because it’s mounted on top of an 11-story residential tower. We completed an extensive structural calculation package and utilized strategic placement of the solar storage tanks when designing the array. The result is an iconic solar water heating system that is one of the highest in Southern California. It is a prominent symbol of sustainability that is visible from both the 5 and 605 freeways.”

Adam Boucher, founder and CEO of Promise Energy, added, “This system really accomplishes a lot for the project. In a single measure we were able to reduce the energy consumption of the entire building by over 7 percent. We helped the project meet funding requirements for energy efficiency, and we’re reducing long-term energy costs for the seniors who live here.”

For more information, visit www.promiseenergy.com.

Publication date: 5/5/2014

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