Twice recognized as one of the most eco-friendly businesses in Middle Tennessee*, MDHA is using sustainable solutions in a number of ways. From solar energy to high efficiency heating and cooling, MDHA residents enjoy greater comfort and the agency sees lower energy costs.
- MDHA is among the first in the south, and is the first in Tennessee to use solar energy technology in public housing.
- Solar installations at Parthenon Towers, Edgefield Manor and Madison Towers combined generate more than 206,000 kWh annually that MDHA will sell to NES, making MDHA the largest producer of solar energy in Nashville-Davidson County and one of the largest solar energy producers in Tennessee.
- The 280-roof mounted solar panels at Parthenon Towers alone generate around 76,000 kWh of energy a year.
- The power generated by MDHA’s solar arrays is returned to the NES power grid to supplement the Green Power program, which can be utilized by homeowners and other electrical power consumers. MDHA is reimbursed annually for the solar power generated.
- MDHA’s solar arrays also support Tennessee’s solar producers. The solar installations were manufactured at Sharp’s Memphis facility and installed by a local solar company.
- Solar water heaters on the roof of the newly renovated Bridge Building on the East Bank of the Cumberland River near the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge will reduce the costs associated with heating water for the building’s lavatories.
- Geothermal heating and cooling is the direct use of geothermal energy (heat retained in the Earth) to heat and cool buildings and apartments.
- MDHA installed Geothermal Heating and Cooling units at Parkway Terrace, a 125-unit apartment complex in East Nashville.
- The Geothermal Heating and Cooling system installed at Parkway Terrace is expected to save up to 70% in heating costs and up to 50% in cooling costs.
- Geothermal Heating and Cooling will be used in the renovated Bridge Building located on the East Bank of the Cumberland River near the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge. A total of 25 wells, each 500 feet deep, will tap the near-constant earth temperatures to heat and cool the building.
Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) Heating and Cooling
- MDHA is utilizing VRV technology, which is used widely in high-rise buildings in Europe and Asia. VRV systems are energy-efficient and allow each apartment to be heated and cooled independently.
- VRV systems at Madison Towers, Parthenon Towers, Edgefield Manor and Vine Hill, are expected to lower heating costs by up to 60% and cooling costs by 30%.
- In many cases, the VRV units replace window air conditioners.
- When installed at all properties, the units will reduce MDHA’s carbon emissions by more than 603,000 pounds per year.
- The VRV system at Parthenon Towers, for example, is expected to reduce energy consumption by approximately 206,000 kWh annually.
- In order to reduce water use, MDHA partnered with Siemens Industry, Inc. to implement extensive water conservation measures that are expected to reduce water use by as much as 50% compared to 15 years ago
- MDHA replaced a majority of water heaters at Neighborhood Housing sites with tankless water heaters which only heat the water as it is used.
- As renovations are made to MDHA’s high-rise and other public housing stock, low-flow water fixtures are installed.
Storm Water Management
- Utilizing new practices in building, MDHA is implementing storm water management systems at several facilities near the Cumberland River to help reduce untreated rain water run-off into the river and to re-use rain water when possible.
- Cumberland Park, the new park located on the East Bank of the Cumberland River near the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge, will include a storm water system that captures storm water from the park and from a nearby parking lot. The storm water is collected cleaned, treated and reused for irrigation, which also helps reduce potable water use for irrigation.
- During the project, MDHA is removing invasive plant species from the riverbank and restoring the riparian buffer with native plantings which will reduce irrigation demands and improve ecological diversity on the river bank.
- Rainwater will be captured and reused in the public restrooms lavatories in the adjacent Bridge Building.
- Nance Place, the workforce housing community on Rolling Mill Hill, features an interior courtyard with an innovative rainwater treatment planter that captures and filters all rain water from the roofs.
- Permeable pavement at Nance Place softens the amount of storm water runoff from the site.
- All landscaping at Nance Place is drought tolerant and irrigation is designed to reduce the need for watering.
PTAC Heating and Cooling
- A packaged terminal air conditioner (PTAC) is a type of self-contained heating and air conditioning system which allow individual control of heat and air for each unit and are more energy efficient than electric heat only. PTAC systems are in place in Gernert Studio Apartments and Hadley Park Towers.
- A lighting retrofit is the practice of replacing components in lighting system with counterparts that make it more energy-efficient. Energy savings over time from such upgrades can be significant. Based on recommendations by Siemens Industry, Inc., MDHA initiated a lighting retrofit at all properties, replacing aging systems and incandescent lights with upgraded lighting and more energy-efficient and longer lasting CFL light bulbs.
- As MDHA upgrades housing units, new energy-efficient appliances are installed to reduce energy consumption at each property.
LEED Certified Buildings and Neighborhoods
- The Bridge Building – tracking LEED Platinum Certification
- Nance Place – tracking LEED Gold Certification
- The Gulch – LEED Silver for Neighborhood Development
- Rolling Mill Hill – tracking LEED certification
- MDHA constructed and is operating “Farm in the City”, a community garden at MDHA’s J. Henry Hale. It was the first community garden at a public housing development in Nashville and is open to residents, downtown dwellers and others interested in growing their own vegetables. Community gardens are now also in place and operated by Residents Associations at Vine Hill, Madison Towers and Cumberland View Apartments.
*Nashville Post 2010, One of 50 Most Eco-Friendly Companies in Middle Tennessee; Nashville Post 2011, One of 50 Green Heroes in Middle Tennessee