35 for 35: Sustainability at APAH

Reducing our Carbon Footprint in 2024 and Beyond 

Since 2018, APAH has completed nine newly built affordable communities, and currently has seven new properties under construction or in active predevelopment, creating hundreds of affordable homes in the region. With all this construction activity, the APAH team and our building partners employ sustainable building practices to reduce our environmental impact and importantly, create healthier homes for residents. Energy efficient building techniques often result in improved air quality, long-term cost savings, and increased resiliency to mitigate increasingly severe climate events. APAH’s sustainability efforts aim to decrease our carbon footprint, increase quality of life for residents, and ensure that we can continue providing quality affordable homes well into the future. 

Photo by Jeffrey Sauers of CPI Productions

APAH’s new construction projects are all built to EarthCraft Gold* standards, which provides us with technical support throughout development and green certification upon completion. This high level of energy efficiency and sustainability includes: 

  • Tight building envelopes with superior insulation, efficient HVAC systems, water conserving technology, and LED light fixtures to maximize energy efficiency. 
  • Prioritizing indoor air quality, minimizing pollutants, and proper ventilation systems. 
  • Sustainable, locally sourced construction materials. 
  • Site planning that respects the surrounding environment, manages stormwater, and protects local species. 
  • Resilient buildings that can withstand severe weather and require less maintenance in the long-term. 
  • Walkability, access to multimodal transportation, green landscaping, and vibrant communities that enhance the neighborhood and promote a car-free lifestyle. 

Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD) Housing Innovations in Energy Efficiency (HIEE) program provides funds for energy efficient upgrades to affordable homes. APAH has secured HIEE funds at Ilda’s Overlook Senior Residences, Unity Homes at Ballston, The Exchange at Spring Hill Station, Marbella Apartments and Arna Valley View redevelopment, and Avonlea. In fact, Ilda’s Overlook, which welcomed senior residents earlier this year, and Riggs Crossing, scheduled for completion in 2025, feature rooftop solar panels. This is a first for APAH, and the team is exploring solar energy solutions at future development projects 

Photo by James Oesch

APAH’s ethos prioritizes our residents, so our approach to sustainability is human-centered. This is an integral part of our mission and vision, “everyone deserves a place to call home, a foundation to live their dreams.” APAH residents deserve quality housing, healthy air, transit accessibility, and minimized utility costs. Because APAH is a nonprofit developer, we can creatively recapitalize energy efficiency related cost savings. For example, one APAH project in predevelopment proposed reinvesting energy savings into onsite fitness equipment and exercise programming, prioritizing residents’ health and wellness goals. Another example recapitalizes costs into emergency power supply equipment, placing common areas on generator power in case of an extreme weather event. Special attention to electrical outlet placement for device charging and providing power to refrigerators for medications is important to APAH residents, notably seniors. APAH now has communities for independent seniors in our portfolio, which underscores the need for healthy, resilient communities.  

In an increasingly unpredictable world grappling with climate change, health crises, and rising costs, APAH is proud to provide stable homes. Our affordable communities support residents’ wellness, respect our environment, reduce energy consumption, and are future-proofed to serve neighbors for many years to come. 

Oakwood Meadow Senior Residences

*Note, LEED certification is operationalized in neighboring jurisdictions and offers comparable standards.