The Arlington Grove neighborhood in St. Louis has seen its share of hard times in recent years, but through the efforts of the community’s dedicated church officials, residents and alderman, plus developer McCormack Baron Salazar, KAI Design & Build, the City of St. Louis and the St. Louis Housing Authority, its future is looking brighter and greener.
The $41 million Arlington Grove redevelopment project is considered one of the first mixed-income developments in the country designed to Enterprise Green Communities (EGC) criteria, and it is a first for Missouri and the City of St. Louis. A unique aspect of the development’s design is the specification of photovoltaic panels and highly reflective shingles to reduce energy consumption.
Solar PanelsPhotovoltaic panels are expected to provide at least 10 percent of the development’s total energy demands. The panels are specified for the roof of the new mixed-use building and other flat-roof buildings in the development. Any power generated by the panels will be fed back to the local utility. The utility company will then “buy back” electrical energy from the building, the simplest option for most owners. Utility companies generally buy the energy back at a lower rate than normally billed by the user.
The EPA estimates that about $40 billion is spent annually in the U.S. to air condition buildings - one sixth of all electricity generated in a year. Energy Star-qualified roof products can lower roof surface temperatures by up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, decreasing the amount of heat transferred into a building. According to the EPA, Energy Star-qualified roof products can help reduce the amount of air conditioning needed in buildings and can reduce peak cooling demands by 10 percent to 15 percent, which may allow the home or building owner to purchase a smaller, less expensive and more efficient cooling system. These roof products may also maintain a more constant temperature, therefore reducing thermal shock and helping to extend the life of the roof.