Manager: Mirna Broadwater
Located in the Spring Lake subdivision in the city of Woodland, Mutual Housing at Spring Lake provides 62 apartments and townhomes, supportive services, and community building programs for agricultural workers. The location is less than a half-mile south of Pioneer High School, directly across the street from Woodland Community College, and within a half-mile north of a public park located on Pioneer and Parkland Avenue. This community opened in February 2015.
Mutual Housing at Spring Lake offers affordable living for working families and individuals whose limited incomes prohibit them from paying market-rate rent. Of the 62 affordable apartment flats and town-homes, 61 are set aside for agricultural workers and their families earning 0 to 60 percent of the area median income. United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA-RD) rental subsidies help to make monthly rent more affordable. One apartment is reserved for an on-site manager.
Mutual Housing at Spring Lake is the first nationally certified zero net energy rental housing in the nation. The U.S. Department of Energy, through its Zero Energy Ready Homes program, has certified more than 14,000 energy- efficient homes that created millions of dollars in energy savings for homeowners since the program started in 2008. Mutual Housing at Spring Lake is the first opportunity in the nation that renters have to live in 100 percent certified zero net energy homes. Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings produce as much energy as they use through integration of energy efficient design and renewable energy generation, such as solar energy produced at Mutual Housing at Spring Lake.
Green Certifications for Mutual Housing at Spring Lake include:
These certifications are achieved by meeting strict performance guidelines that cover one or all green building strategies that relate to Energy Efficiency, Indoor Air Quality, Resource Conservation, Water Conservation and Sustainable Community Living, which are set by the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Star Rated Homes program, U.S. Green Building Council, and Enterprise Green Communities program. Mutual Housing at Spring Lake was selected as a 2015 Housing Innovation Award (HIA) winner by the U.S. Dept of Energy.
Energy and water efficiency features include innovative electric heat pumps, a 209 kilowatt photovoltaic system, LED lighting, tenant energy usage monitors, extremely well-sealed and insulated buildings, low-flow toilets, water-saving showerheads, and drought tolerant landscaping. The shower heads have automatic cutoffs that reduce water flow to a trickle when water goes from cold to hot until an individual enters the shower instead of wasting water and electricity when no one is yet in the shower.
Mutual Housing at Spring Lake is all-electric. There is no gas operated appliance or system. To help residents reach the zero net energy goal the community was designed for, each apartment or townhome has a color-coded energy monitor that shows real-time use: green means efficient, yellow typical, and red above normal. By limiting electricity use to typical household ranges for which the system was designed, individual families should not have to pay for utilities. In addition to increasing housing affordability, this incentive has the potential to build enduring energy conservation habits through encouraging energy consumption awareness.
Before the property was even designed, Mutual Housing California surveyed agricultural workers at their place of employment about their housing conditions and needs. The results revealed that next to rent, the biggest housing-related concern was high utility bills. This property seeks to addresses that concern and eliminate it.
The Mutual Housing community’s features include central open areas, a children’s play area, basketball hoop, community garden, resident/visitor parking and bike parking. A large community building contains a community room (to be used for classes, meetings and social events), a computer learning lab, a services coordinator/community organizing staff office, a multi-purpose room and a leasing office.
As at all Mutual Housing communities, residents benefit from their own resident council and leadership opportunities, as well as a Mutual Housing community organizer and on-site programs for children and adults. Programs and services are to include financial education, home-buyer preparation, college planning workshops, English as a second language classes, legal clinics and workshops, leadership development training and mentoring for youth and adults, and community service days. Other services will be available based on community need and interest.
This summer the United States Department of Agriculture, a major financial supporter of Mutual Housing at Spring Lake, furthered their commitment to Mutual Housing and affordable homes for agricultural workers by announcing a $3 million loan to help develop the second phase of the community. Additional predevelopment funding comes from NeighborWorks America. Additional financing will come from the State Treasurer’s Office through the Low Income Tax Credit program, and through the City of Woodland’s affordable housing fund.
Construction is anticipated to begin in late 2017. This will add 39 additional homes with even more advanced energy and water efficiency features. The second phase is planned to achieve 105% zero-net energy and store at least 5% of energy generated off the grid. Working with Redwood Energy and Kuchman Architects more photovoltaic panels will be added to the existing system. To promote conservation of limited water resources a grey water system will also be installed, offsetting nearly 50% of typical landscape irrigation.
See and Read more about Mutual Housing’s Green legacy:
• April 20, 2017 – Daily Democrat
Swedish dignitaries visit Woodland’s ‘zero energy’ housing project
• March 21, 2017 – Environmental Protection
“Found Object” Sculptures Add to Nonprofit’s Environmental Vision
• December 6, 2016 – ABC10
Agricultural workers and the lack of affordable housing
• November, 2016 – Wired Magazine
Three ways to bring solar power to the people who need it most
• July 15, 2016 – Daily Democrat
Mutual Housing gets $3M grant to aid farmworkers
• March 4, 2016 – Environmental Protection
Affordable Housing Receives LEED Home Platinum Certification
• February 4, 2016 – Daily Democrat
Mural makes an impact at Spring Lake housing
• October, 2015 – U.S. Department of Energy
DOE Zero Energy Ready Home Case Study: Mutual Housing California, Mutual Housing at Spring Lake, Woodland, CA
• August 21, 2015 – Scientific American
Homes Make as Much Energy as They Use
• May 6,2015 – California Housing Partnership Corporation
Mutual Housing California Achieves Zero Net Energy in Woodland
• April 8, 2015 – Environmental Protection
South Sacramento Communities Re-open After Major Green Rehab
• February 27, 2015 – Sacramento Business Journal
Affordable housing in Foothill Farms set for renovations
• June 22, 2014 – The Davis Enterprise
New Harmony wins green award from structural engineers association
• May 13, 2014 – Environmental Protection
White House touts Mutual Housing solar energy projects