Hacienda CDC cuts energy costs and improves comfort for residents


A colorful apartment building.

Since 1992, Hacienda Community Development Corp. (CDC), a nonprofit affordable housing developer, has been dedicated to delivering necessary housing and supportive services to low-income Latino communities in Portland’s Cully neighborhood. Now 27 years later, Hacienda CDC has a broad portfolio of nine multifamily properties that provide housing for more than 1,600 individuals. To ensure affordable utility bills for their residents, and to keep their operating costs low, Hacienda CDC has long been committed to reducing energy use across their properties.

Hacienda CDC has been working with Energy Trust of Oregon to reduce energy use since the early 2000s. Altogether, Hacienda CDC’s energy upgrades have delivered an estimated $36,500 in annual energy savings. “Anytime we can upgrade our properties and make them more energy efficient for our residents, we do it,” said Aida Antonio, asset manager, Hacienda CDC. “It provides great value, it’s economical and it just makes sense.”

Most recently, Hacienda CDC completed instant savings upgrades at all nine of their properties. This free Energy Trust service includes the installation of LED light bulbs, faucet aerators, showerheads and shower wands and leave-behind advanced power strips in qualifying units. Not only do these products reduce energy waste and lower utility bills, they also contribute to improved resident comfort. “Residents have definitely noticed a difference,” said Antonio. “They let us know the water is streaming great, the quality of light is brighter and it just feels better.”

According to Antonio, the upgrades have helped create a culture of energy awareness among residents in addition to improving comfort. “Whenever we talk about energy efficiency to our residents, it really triggers them to educate themselves and seek information on further actions they can take,” she said. “These upgrades have inspired residents to be more hands-on with unit upkeep and maintenance, which creates good communication between us and our residents.”

To further reduce energy use and improve the safety and security of their properties, Hacienda CDC has completed a variety of additional upgrades including replacing drafty windows, upgrading lighting, and installing efficient refrigerators, water heaters and heating systems. In addition to making a major contribution to their overall energy savings, this new energy-efficient equipment lasts longer and requires less maintenance, allowing maintenance staff to focus on other ways to keep residents happy and comfortable.

To help offset the costs of their energy-efficiency upgrades, Hacienda CDC has collectively received nearly $50,000 in Energy Trust cash incentives since 2008. “We’re super grateful for everything that Energy Trust of Oregon does for us,” said Antonio. “We really appreciate the positive impact that they’re bringing to our residents through these upgrades.”