Ryan Beck Photography

National Community Renaissance (National CORE) has its eye on the future with the creation of its first net-zero-energy community. Day Creek Senior Villas, which provides 140 apartments for seniors 62 older in Rancho Cucamonga, California, is designed to be sustainable and energy efficient, reducing the nonprofit’s carbon footprint and operating costs.

“We manage and own for the long haul,” says Steve PonTell, president and CEO of National CORE. “We want to make sure we are building something that is sustainable over time.”

Ryan Beck Photography

The development has an extensive photovoltaic system on the roofs and carports to cover energy use across the property. National CORE, which has a companywide commitment to lowering utility costs for its residents, passes those savings along to the seniors, who pay electric bills as low as $5 per month.

The tight building envelope helps to minimize heat flow, making it possible to use high-performance heating and cooling systems with smaller capacities. Awarded LEED for Homes Gold certification, the development also includes low-flow plumbing fixtures, drought-tolerant landscaping, and healthy indoor and outdoor spaces free of toxins.

“It was the long-term operations driving a lot of these investments and decisions, and we get the additional benefit of the environmental impact,” adds PonTell.

Working closely with the city, National CORE is meeting the critical need of affordable housing for seniors by providing units with set-asides ranging from 30% to 60% of the area median income and on-site programming by Hope through Housing Foundation. In addition, the location and proximity to community amenities and the quality of the environment make it an ideal home for the senior households, says PonTell.

The development team also looked beyond a traditional capital stack, utilizing a complex hybrid 9% and 4% low-income housing tax credit structure for the $46.6 million Day Creek Senior Villas. National CORE also partnered with a nontraditional funding source, the Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP)—a nonprofit serving more than 1.25 million residents of Riverside and San Bernardino counties–to provide rent subsidies on 10 units for homeless seniors who are IEHP members transitioning out of long-term care. In addition, the Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino provided eight project-based vouchers.