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Region’s First Affordable Housing with Geothermal Energy Opens in Southeast DC

Area’s greenest affordable community a national nodel for sustainable redevelopment, revitalizes Washington Highlands neighborhood

Washington, D.C., September 22, 2012 – Celebrating a landmark in green affordable housing with significant national implications, D.C. and HUD officials and residents today joined Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC) and their development partners for the grand opening of Wheeler Terrace Apartments. Wheeler Terrace is expected to be the first affordable housing community in the region to obtain LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council and has already earned the Enterprise Green Communities designation.

“We at HUD are thrilled to see the redevelopment of Wheeler Terrace,” said Carol Galante, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multi-Family Housing for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “The preservation of affordable housing is always important; the fact that Wheeler Terrace is a national model for sustainable redevelopment adds to its importance. This green renovation immeasurably improves the health and quality of life the people who live here, and we applaud all involved for the vision and persistence required to accomplish this impressive effort.” Wheeler Terrace is the first HUD demonstration project to evaluate the public health impact of multi-family green retrofits on low-income housing residents. HUD provided a one million dollar grant to the National Center for Healthy Housing to evaluate the effect of the green and healthy upgrades on Wheeler Terrace residents.

Washington-based CPDC and its partners rehabilitated the deteriorating seven-building, 116-unit garden apartment complex, originally built in 1947 as veterans housing, into a high-performing green property. A 25 percent reduction in overall energy consumption was achieved through a ground source geothermal heating and cooling system, new energy-efficient white roofs, low-E reflective windows, energy-star-rated appliances and lighting and other environmental features. Construction waste was minimal — 100 percent of the existing structural elements and 80 percent of the non-structural elements were preserved or reused. Improved ventilation systems, an integrated pest management program and a sealed building envelope significantly improve indoor air quality to reduce allergies and asthma. CPDC also added a Green Opportunity Center designed to educate residents about the benefits of green building.

Community members and other volunteers helped build a tot lot and plant trees. A new Green Opportunities Center features interactive exhibits to educate residents and community members about the benefits of sustainable development. An urban gardening program teaches gardening techniques and nutrition.

The property has received numerous environmental certifications and awards:

Mayor’s Award for Environmental Excellence from DC Mayor Adrien Fenty, Affordable Housing Project of the Year Award from the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers Top 10 Green Affordable Housing Project from Affordable Housing Finance Magazine, Innovation In Green & Sustainable Design Award from the African American Real Estate Professionals

“CPDC is proud to be at the forefront of this type of sustainable development,” said Michael J. Pitchford, CPDC’s president and CEO. “Working with the Wheeler Terrace residents, community and our partners in the government and private sector, we have greatly improved the property, made it environmentally efficient and ensured its affordability for the long term. As a company, we have learned a lot from this effort, and we look forward to bringing the benefits of this learning and our experiences in sustainable development to communities throughout the area.”

The resident-initiated redevelopment of Wheeler Terrace also marks a major advance in the revitalization of Ward 8’s Washington Highlands neighborhood. “CPDC has cleaned up one of the worst hot spots for drugs and violence in the DC,” according Garlenda Joyner, president of the Wheeler Terrace Apartments Tenants Association. Last year, CPDC also rehabilitated and reopened an adjacent property, The Overlook, a formerly dilapidated 316-unit high-rise that had loomed over the neighborhood.

The sustainable redevelopment of Wheeler Terrace was made possible with financing from the DC Department of Housing and Community Development, the DC Housing Finance Agency, Enterprise Green Communities, Union Bank, PNC and United Bank. The Home Depot Foundation and Enterprise provided grant funding. Wiencek + Associates Architects + Planners designed the redevelopment. The National Center for Healthy Housing, KaBoom, and Casey Trees improved the quality of life for Wheeler Terrace residents. The accompanying Partners In Innovation reference piece details their roles in this award-winning model of sustainable redevelopment


A premier developer of affordable housing in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia, Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC) works to develop vibrant communities through innovation and partnership.  The organization currently owns more than 4,000 dedicated affordable apartments within 26 communities, with resident engagement programs at many of its properties serving more than 9,000 residents.  More about the company is available at www.cpdc.org.

For all CPDC and general inquiries, please contact:
Luann Tia Blount, Director of Marketing and Communications
(202) 885-9546


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