Columbia Parc, New Orleans’ 1st Solar Senior Community

The Heritage at Columbia ParcNEW ORLEANS, LA. (December 3, 2013) – Solar Alternatives, a leading solar energy firm based in New Orleans, and Columbia Residential, a Georgia-based provider of affordable housing, announce the completion of the largest solar electric system in the New Orleans area. The 67,000 watt solar electric system on the new Columbia Parc Heritage Senior Residence is the first senior community in New Orleans to feature solar electricity. The installation is part of a larger effort to reduce living costs to the elderly residents and allows community members to contribute to a clean energy future.

The Heritage Senior Residence is one of the most advanced energy-saving rebuilding projects in New Orleans involving a public-private partnership. It is the sixth phase in a broader effort to replace housing units in the former St. Bernard community. The newer, more efficient construction and LEED Platinum certification were achieved because of this partnership.

Heritage hosts one and two bedroom apartment houses, all of which are equipped with energy efficient features including Energy Star kitchen and laundry appliances, programmable thermostats and upgraded wall insulation.

The Heritage Solar project is designed to provide power to community areas of the building, including computer rooms, laundry, hallways and social areas. Solar power for the facility is monitored by the building managers and Solar Alternatives staff for performance and maintenance.

“This is a project that will help keep costs down for decades, while giving residents the comfort in the knowledge that their energy comes from a clean, natural source,” said Jeffrey Cantin, President of Solar Alternatives.

Solar Alternatives installed 274 high-power panels for this project, using low-visibility and high-sunlight locations. Panels are integrated into the building with a special architectural system creating the appearance of a large skylight, rather than metallic look of a traditional solar array. The 67kW installation generates 80,000 kilowatt hours annually, saving the residence over $8,000 per year in energy costs. The environmental impact of the solar energy over the 30 year life of the system is equal to saving 187,000 gallons of gas, planting 42,000 trees and removing 3.4 million pounds of CO2 from the atmosphere.

A special grand opening celebration will be held on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. The celebration will highlight the features of the new facility and brings a new era of public housing to the City of New Orleans.