Solar Spotlight: Urban Housing Solutions

Published November 9, 2020

Urban Housing Solutions is Nashville’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to the development and management of affordable housing. They have created nearly 1,400 affordable apartment units for low wage workers, people who have experienced homelessness, seniors, and others who are most affected by rising rents.

One of Urban Housing’s latest projects is 26th and Clarksville, a 141-unit apartment complex that provides housing for all ages (a third of the units are set aside for seniors) and where working artists get preference. The goal is an intergenerational and arts-inspired community. As an anchor of affordability in the North Nashville neighborhood, 26th and Clarksville also provides residents with sustainable energy usage.

“Sustainability and affordability go hand-in-hand,” says Kevin Clavin, Urban Housing’s Development Coordinator. “These buildings are designed to Energy Star standards which helps reduce electric bills for tenants,” he explains.

Urban Housing also incorporated solar energy into their project plan.

“We realized how solar could lower our operating costs over the long term, reduce the environmental impacts of the building, and foster pride among tenants,” says Clavin. “The incorporation of solar energy allowed us to attract significant funding to develop the building,” he says.

Their 50kW solar system will generate about $4,700 annually, creating a reliable revenue stream to help sustain the apartment buildings.

“In the past, the property had a blighted building as well as illegally dumped asbestos and trash,” Clavin says. “It was a health and safety hazard for the neighborhood, and our decision to incorporate clean solar energy into our building was made partly to help right some of those wrongs,” Clavin explains.

LightWave worked closely with UHS’s general contractor, Avenue Construction, to complete the solar portion of the project.

Avenue Construction praised LightWave for making the project smooth and easy,” Clavin says. “LightWave was on schedule, provided regular check-ins and made the process seamless – a joy for all of us,” Clavin adds.

See Urban Housing’s live solar data here which shows historic and real time solar production. According to EPA’s greenhouse gas calculator, Urban Housing’s annual solar generation will reduce carbon dioxide emissions equal to planting 40 acres of trees!

To learn more about Urban Housing Solutions, visit their website here.