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King County Housing Authority
King County Housing Authority starts $1.5M stimulus project at Forest Glen in Redmond
Funds will be used to reduce energy at the public housing complex, provide jobs
Work has started on $1.5 million in energy efficiency upgrades and building envelope renovations to Forest Glen, a 40-unit public housing complex for seniors and persons with disabilities in Redmond. The project is being funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) intended to provide or preserve jobs across America. Nationwide, the Obama administration dedicated $4 billion to housing authorities to preserve and improve the country’s public housing stock. This project is one of three “Green Communities and Energy Efficiency” upgrades that the Authority is undertaking with stimulus funds this year.
The project will remove old baseboard heaters, replacing them with ductless split system heat pumps. Additionally, the roof, exterior siding, windows, and entry doors will be replaced. New water efficient toilets, faucet aerators, and showerheads will also be installed.
These energy efficiency measures will reduce maintenance and operating costs as well as prevent water intrusion. Utility consumption will be reduced by an estimated 25 percent for low-income residents when the work is finished.
“This initiative will not only provide dozens of good paying green jobs for the community, it will also enhance the quality, longevity, energy efficiency, and safety of this public asset,” said King County Housing Authority Executive Director Stephen Norman. “When completed we’ll see a significant decrease in energy and water consumption with related cost-savings and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”
As the unemployment rate in the Puget Sound region hovers at 8 percent, these well-paying construction jobs generated by this project will help reinvigorate the local economy. A study by the Econsult Corporation has measured the economic impact of investing in public housing repairs. It showed that every construction dollar generates $2.12 in economic activity through job creation, spending by vendors and suppliers, purchase of goods and services, and consumer spending by workers.
Chris Davies, president of CDK Construction Services, Inc., the general contractor for the building envelope project, agrees. “This recession has caused a severe downturn in the construction sector,” Davies said. “In the last year-and-a-half, we shed more than half our workforce — going from a peak of 80 in early 2009 to a low of 34 employees, just two months ago. The three building envelope/energy efficiency projects we’re executing on behalf of KCHA have contributed significantly to CDK’s ability to hire more workers. We’re currently back up to 58 employees and still hiring.”
Architectural services are being provided by DKA Architecture. The plumbing contractor is All Services Plumbing and Construction, and Joshua Tree, LLC will install the new siding. Accurate Painting is the painting contractor. Masterwork Roofing will install the new roof. Thompson Electrical Constructors, Inc. will be completing the electrical work and C& F Mechanical Corp. will be installing the heat pumps. Approximately 40 workers from a variety of trades and occupations will be employed on the project. Work is expected to be completed by the end of April 2011.
In 2009, KCHA received $23.5 million in stimulus funds. These funds have enabled KCHA to swiftly and strategically tackle a backlog of deferred capital repairs and make energy-efficiency improvements to its public housing. By the time KCHA completes all of its ARRA projects, the agency will have employed more than 800 workers in a variety of trades and improved about 1,800 housing units.