It takes a village: sustainable community saves energy with energy-efficient windows

It takes a village: sustainable community saves energy with energy-efficient windows

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Kailash Ecovillage is a community that provides sustainable urban living through co-housing, garden landscapes and learning spaces where residents have their own private accommodations while also enjoying shared activities and a sense of community.

When the dilapidated Kenneth Allen apartments next door became available, co-founder Ole Ersson and property manager Caleb Rice, jumped at the chance to purchase the property and start the process to create another sustainable community.

“I started the conversation with the owner about acquiring the property a couple of years ago, and one thing led to another, and we were fortunate enough to acquire the property,” said Rice.

Renamed Annapurna Ecovillage, the former 1970s apartments occupy 3.5-acres and are comprised of five distinct structures with a total of 53 multifamily residential units. Like Kailash Ecovillage, the goal was to not only rejuvenate the property as an eco-friendly apartment complex but re-create it on a larger scale using similar sustainable and energy efficient practices.

Today, Annapurna Ecovillage takes pride in creating and fostering community through shared activities that benefit the environment including urban gardening and composting, resource sharing, re-using, recycling and making the move to energy self-reliance.

“Part of our emphasis obviously is sustainability. And part of that sustainability is increased energy efficiency,” said Rice.

Some of the longer-term goals include six port high-speed electric vehicle (EV) chargers and a solar array to power laundries, community lighting and EVs. But first, Ersson, who had participated in Energy Trust of Oregon programs in the past, contacted Energy Trust to explore available incentives to help revitalize the apartments, which including replacing the windows.In early March 2023, an Energy Trust representative visited the property for a walkthrough survey to assess what could be accomplished with incentives and determined what the best path was to replace the existing weather-worn and poor-performing aluminum single-pane windows.

Rice provided the total window square footage for an estimate of incentives, eventually totaling an impressive $70,300 cash incentive from Energy Trust. From there, they shopped around for the best deal and found triple pane windows that met the requirements. Once purchased, they provided the receipts and were reimbursed by Energy Trust. “The process was pretty straightforward,” said Rice.

After purchasing the windows, Ersson and Rice worked with their contractor to install 230 windows and large 6×8 foot slider glass doors for every unit. The installation took around three months to complete.

The new windows will save residents an estimated 158,300 kWh annually, enough energy to power 14 homes for a year*, and an estimated combined annual cost savings of $25,700 on utility bills.

The former windows were dirty and cracked, making the shiny, new windows more appealing to residents. The new windows also reduce noise and increase comfort in the units which now retain more cool air in the hot months and warm air in the cold months.

“If you don’t have an almost brand-new building there are probably significant improvements that are begging to be made,” added Ersson. “We consider this just the beginning. We’d also like to do heat pumps for all the units and increase the thermal envelope. We still have a long way to go with Energy Trust.”
– Ole Ersson, co-founder, Annapurna Ecovillage

Learn more about how you can save energy at your multifamily property with support from Energy Trust of Oregon. Visit the cash incentives page or get started on your energy-saving project by emailing

*Estimate provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.