1300 Residences is not only bringing needed housing to the city of River Falls, Wisconsin, in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, it’s also providing environmental benefits to the community.

The 50-unit project was developed in partnership by West CAP and Gerrard Corp.’s construction arm Gerrard Development. The team installed 580 rooftop photovoltaic panels, three standalone solar flowers that extend 16 feet in diameter and rotate toward the sun, and an air-source heat pump system to address climate change. With the sustainable measures in place, 1300 Residences produces 70% of its overall energy use, which brings the total carbon emission savings to around 240 tons per year versus built-to-code construction.

“The city has been very welcoming and progressive around renewable energy and sustainable solutions,” says Peter Kilde, executive director of West CAP. “There are 580 solar panels on top of the building, but you can’t see them. The smart flowers really have identified the project in terms of the commitment not only to the residents and community, but to all of society.It’s a global issue, we’re dedicating this project to that end.”

1300 Residences also is serving a mix of incomes to meet demand. River Falls, a city of roughly 15,500 in a higher-income and higher-cost county, recently did a housing study and found that it would need 1,500 more housing units by 2030.

“There is a huge need for workforce and affordable housing,” says Paul Gerrard, managing member and co-owner of Gerrard Development.

The $11.7 million development includes 10 units designated as supportive housing for frail elderly and households with disabilities earning 30% of the area median income (AMI), 20 units at 50% of the AMI, four units at 60% of the AMI, and 16 units at 80% of the AMI.