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Santa Fe Is Home To New Mexico's First Net-Zero Energy Housing Unit

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Kevin Meerschaert
/
KSFR-FM
Siler Yard 's solar panels produce all the electricity the apartment complex needs.

Santa Fe is home to New Mexico’s first net-zero energy multi-family unit project.

The recently opened Siler Yard caters to the members of the art and creative community who make under 60-percent of the Area Mean Income.

The 65-unit, $17.4 million project was made possible through a $10.4 million competitive Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and a $5.2 million, 40-year, Section 221(d)(4) mortgage — both U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development programs for affordable housing. 

The project also received $600,000 in permit and fee waivers from the city of Santa Fe, which also contributed $400,000 in infrastructure funding and the 4.3 acres of land it was built on.         

A $650,000 Affordable Housing Program subsidy was awarded to the New Mexico Interfaith Housing from Century Bank and FHLB Dallas.   

“The Siler Yard development has been a decade in the making,” said Daniel Werwath, executive director at New Mexico Inter-Faith Housing. “The development will provide high-quality housing to individuals at rates far below the local average for monthly rent.”

The rent for the one to three-bedroom apartments ranges between $427 to $1185 a month, based on the tenants income.  

With it being a net-zero energy structure, all utilities are included.

Artists Ellen Jantzen and her architect husband Michael were two of the first people to apply to move into Siler Yard.

She says it’s been a wonderful experience.

“We thought it was going to be really loud but it’s really quiet,” she said. “It’s great for working and is a wonderful facility.”   

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich recently toured the complex.

He said it’s the kind of affordable housing there needs to be more of across the country.

“It’s affordable, it’s meeting a workforce need. It’s meeting a creative need and it’s sustainable,” he said. “Those should be our metrics going forward and there’s no reason why we can’t do this now.”    

Heinrich says the recently announced Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 includes language that mirrors the Zero-Emission Homes Act which he co-sponsored in the Senate.

He says the legislation will help families with the upfront costs of installing clean and efficient electric home appliances like air-source heat pumps and would help in the constructions of similar housing projects nationwide.

Kevin Meerschaert comes to Santa Fe from Jacksonville, Florida where he spent the past 20 years covering politics, government and pretty much everything else.