Chili Commons, built in 1973, is a typical "garden-style" complex, with 156 units; a mix of 1,2 & 3 bedroom apartments and townhomes. At over 40 years old, the building owners were finding an ever increasing need for maintenance on apartment heating and hot water systems (one each per apartment). Facing a ballooning maintenance budget, a drop in occupancy (which was attributable to the aging buildings), and nearly constant comfort complaints from tenants, the owners turned to True Energy Solutions to help them undertake necessary upgrades in the most efficient and cost-effictive manner possible.
We worked with the building owners to find the best overall solutions for their units. After reviewing their options, they decided to undertake comprehensive upgrades to multiple facets of their complex through the Home Performance with Energy Star Lowrise Program.
During the comprenhsive energy audit, we found that the existing furnaces were operating at 70-72% efficiency. There was large openings to attic spaces in the common halls and the building still had the original dial-type thermostats. The attic had spots where it was completely missing insulation and other places where there was the original 3 inch fiber glass.
The bath exhaust fans vented into the attic of between floors and the hot water tanks were back-drafting. We found gas leaks in nearly every unit and tenants complained of uncomfortable conditions and high utility bills.
True Energy Solutions evaluated all of the challenges the building owners were facing and began making improvements. We replaced the original furnaces with 95% high efficiency furnaces and installed vent fans. We insulated the ductwork in the crawlspaces and applied spray foam insulating to the rim joist cavaties as well as insulated the attic. The thermostats needed to be replaced with new programmable thermostates and air sealing measures throughout the building to reduce drafts and high utility bills. The gas leaks, of course, needed to be fixed and with all these fixes the apartments were more comfortable and livable.