Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), in partnership with Brightcore Energy and Engenium Group, has been awarded a $2.5 million grant by District’s Public Service Commission to incorporate a community geothermal system at the future mixed-use, mixed-income Barry Farm development.
The Southeast DC project will create 900 residential apartments, 40,000 sq. ft. of new retail/service uses, open space, and significant new public infrastructure.
This is the first pilot project in Washington, DC to support a large community heat pump system, and aims to replace fossil fuel space conditioning systems, improve and modernize the District’s energy delivery system, and make strides in clean energy.
“By installing a community geothermal system, we are partnering with the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia in order to advance building electrification and create a more sustainable community,” Engenium president and managing principal Brandon Harwick said in a Nov. 1 statement.
“Geothermal is advanced and progressive – just like our District. By implementing this community geothermal system, we’re staying true to DC’s mission to work towards a more innovative and clean future.”
The developers assert the geothermal system will:
- Use less energy to transfer heat with the stable 50-60° F temperatures from the earth rather than air-cooled systems;
- Decrease power usage through geothermal condensing units by up to 35% versus air-cooled outdoor units;
- Increase heating capacities, lower refrigerant volumes, and the elimination of defrost cycles typically needed in the winter seasons;
- Provide simultaneous heating and cooling throughout the buildings;
- Reduce penetrations in the building envelopes, which is beneficial for projects seeking passive house certification;
- Be less costly and reduced maintenance needs to manage the geothermal system than a typical air-cooled system;
- Reduce construction costs due to the economy of scale of implementing this community level system.
“At POAH, we recognize that managing the environmental footprint is a critical piece of the preservation mission said Deanna Savage, POAH’s vice-president for construction. “Reducing energy consumption saves money for both POAH and the residents in our communities and is key to providing durable, health and high-quality housing.”
Last September, POAH broke ground on the first building in its multi-phase development, the Asberry, a mixed-use building with 108 units of affordable rental senior (55+) housing and approximately 5,000 sq. ft. of commercial space.
This will be the first on-site building to be delivered under the New Communities Initiative at Barry Farm, a historically significant project for African Americans in Washington because the neighborhood was originally established in 1867 as the first African-American homeownership community in the District for newly freed slaves.
Once completed, the new overall redevelopment of Barry Farm will be a mixed-income community with at least 900 new affordable rental and for-sale housing units, of which 380 will be public housing replacement units.