Project Financing

The Plaza Apartments cost a total of $22,888,498, including hard costs of approximately $16.5 million. Soft costs totaled approximately $6 million, including $1.25 million in design fees, as well as furnishings and equipment, the developer fee, permits, and a prefunded operat ing reserve. The land is leased from the city for approximately $30,000 per year.

The project team has not been able to pinpoint any specific additional costs for green products and systems due to ongoing uncertainty over what constitutes a baseline, or "standard" building, in California. In order to be competitive in California's tax credit allocation process, affordable housing projects must already target a base level of green building, such as exceeding California's Title 24 energy efficiency standards by 10 percent.4

Construction of the Plaza Apartments cost $255 per square foot, which is approximately 3 percent higher than the norm for San Francisco affordable housing projects.5 It is difficult to attach the increased cost to any specific green measure, in part because the nature of integrated design means that some areas will cost more, while others will accrue savings. For example, the pinwheel building design increased natural ventilation in the corridors, requiring less in the way of mechanical ventilation and lighting loads.6 On the other hand, the hydronic heating system had higher first costs, although they will be recovered over time. The building's rainscreen was more expensive than a typical building, while at the same time the exposed concrete structure saved money through avoiding the use of the lathe, concrete, and plaster inherent in conventional exterior skin.

Energy Savings: Based on energy modeling results, the Plaza Apartments project is expected to use at least 22.2 percent less energy than the Title 24 baseline. This performance would lead to an annual savings in electricity use of $8,790 (58,860 kWh/yr) and a saving in natural gas use of $6,800 annually (8,085 therms/yr). See "Energy Performance Comparison" chart for data on expected energy performance as compared with the energy usage of a "standard building" in California (defined as a building that meets but does not exceed California's Title 24 requirements).

Project architect Roberto Sheinberg notes that "one of




San Francisco Redevelopment Agency Low Income Housing Tax Credit Equity Accrued SFRA Construction Loan Interest General Partner Capital

Grants and Rebates

Enterprise Green Communities Initiative Grant $50,000

State of CA rebate for Renewable Program $88,000

PG&E ENERGY STARĀ® Homes Program $15,900

Total $22,888,498

the often overlooked benefits of electricity reduction is the associated emissions reduction that accompanies it. Most California power plants are natural gas fired, which generate 1.32 lbs of CO2 per kWh generated. (Electricity produced from coal generates 2.37 lbs of CO2 for every kWh generated, while electricity produced from oil generates 2.14 lbs of CO2/kWh). Since most California power plants are natural gas fired, our project is expected to eliminate approximately 77,700-lbs of CO2 annually." He also noted that one gallon of unleaded gasoline produces approximately 20 pounds of CO2. Assuming an average vehicle efficiency of 25 miles per gallon, a vehicle would need to


Standard Building

Electric energy usage:

581,860 kWh/yr

Natural gas usage:

39,085 therms/yr

Electricity usage cost:


Natural gas cost:


Plaza Apartments (Projected)

Electric energy usage:

523,000 kWh/yr

Natural gas usage:

31,000 therms/yr

Electricity usage cost:


Natural gas cost:


drive 97,000 miles "to generate the CO2 the Plaza Apartments avoid generating in one year."7

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