Photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies form a complete model of sustainability in commercial real estate as well as increase tenant desirability.
SunRenu Solar, a turn-key renewable energy developer and installer, announced today the completion of the second solar technology integrated on Bethany Biltmore Apartments located at 1350 E. Bethany Home Rd. in Phoenix, Arizona. This installation creates a platform for design and engineering in the commercial real estate industry. SunRenu first installed solar hot water technology.
These solar collectors, combined with the 1,200 gallon storage tank holds the preheated water and supplies the existing hot water heaters with water temperature above the 125 degree F which results in a significant reduction in energy consumption. By utilizing the sun to heat hot water for apartment tenants, Bethany Biltmore is seeing natural gas savings greater than 60% for domestic hot water expenses.
SunRenu is also implementing the second solar technology of a 25kW photovoltaic roof mounted system. This part of the system will offset the majority of the common area electricity needs like pool pumps, laundry rooms, and common area lighting.
Bethany Biltmore Apartments owned by Gail Russell, Managing Partner of Zeliga Management and owner of several apartment properties in Arizona and California. SunRenu Solar, awarded as EPC partner, formulated in the creative design aspects to create a sustainable and environmentally friendly atmosphere for renters. The 112 module photovoltaic system combined with the 16 collector solar hot water system reduces property carbon footprint by 82.3 metric tons of CO2‚ offset per year and 2,059 metric tons lifetime. This is the equivalent to taking 14 cars off the road each year.
“We are very excited about our partnership with Zeliga Management and we value the opportunity to deliver both solar technologies on one property,” said Barry Coe, Managing Partner of SunRenu Solar. “It is exciting when core values and strategic business decisions line up accordingly to help develop a prosperous relationship between Owner/Developer that includes sustainability and savings long term for all parties involved.”
The solar photovoltaic system is scheduled to be commissioned by the end of June, 2012 and is projected to provide 41,805 kWh’s of first year electricity production. The solar hot water system is slated to offset more than 4,000 therms per year.
*Interview with Gail Russell:
-Owner of Bethany Biltmore Apartments and Managing Partner of Zeliga Management.
SunRenu: What was the key decision making factor to put solar on your investment property?
Russell: “I hate paying utility bills, they keep going up. In addition, this captures a clear direction of carbon reduction while doing our part to protect our planet which should be on everyone’s agenda.”
SunRenu: What turned you on to solar energy; both PV and solar thermal?
Russell:” I made a decision to utilize the rebates and incentives available for these projects to maximize our investment model in renewable energy. In addition, this captures a clear direction of carbon reduction while doing our part to protect our planet which should be on everyone’s agenda.”
SunRenu: How do these solar systems give you an advantage as an Owner/Manager?
Russell: “Electric bills are a fixed cost, whether or not I have full occupancy as it does the night lighting and the manager’s office (including the AC). Even renovating apartments is not as good of a deal because I KNOW I am going to be saving money on the electric bills even if I cannot rent the apartments. Most apartment investors elect to do apartment upgrades, and then try to make their apartments look snazzy enough to command high rents from young professionals. However, in tough times, or when a whole lot of new apartments get built, I will still be “making money” on the PV, (Solar Electric) while their apartments go begging for tenants and/or rents decline.”
SunRenu: Is this an ideal fit for master metered properties?
Russell: “With the hot water, I was able to turn lemons into lemonade. This is an older building that has central hot water heating. In tough times, I think that helped me get tenants but, realistically, many tenants tend to disregard the benefit of money they save on utilities. HOWEVER, there are many benefits. By putting in the hot water, I was essentially able to offer this benefit FREE to my tenants. ALSO I believe this system will be cheaper to operate and maintain than would be a system with 32 separate hot water heaters. It gets expensive to replace hot water heaters, and they go out fast in Phoenix’s water.”
SunRenu: What should other commercial real estate property owners realize about solar energy?
Russell: “Every dollar I save in utilities, when multiplied by the current cap rate, makes my building worth X more dollars. Cap rates normally fluctuate somewhere between 4 and 8. And these are solid, provable savings that are not dependent upon the current rental market. This multiplier applies to all kinds of commercial buildings/businesses/charities. These savings, in turn, would help me apply for financing in the future, and would help a charity show that they qualify for more grant money or donations because they do so much more with little money. Personally I like having a “green” building.”
SunRenu Solar (SunRenu) is a turn-key solar integrator based in Scottsdale, AZ with over fifty years of combined experience design, installation, consulting, and financing in alternative energy products. Licensed for renewable energy electric, thermal, and general contracting applications, SunRenu offers a full portfolio of residential and commercial projects including: solar carports, solar awnings and canopies, roof and ground mounted solar systems, “building integrated photovoltaic” (BIPV), and solar thermal systems.