Environmental Protection

King County Housing Authority Starts $1.7M Stimulus Project

Work has started on $1.7 million in energy efficiency upgrades and building envelope renovations to Briarwood, a 70-unit public housing complex for seniors and persons with disabilities in Shoreline, Wash.

The project is being funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, 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.

The project will replace exterior siding, windows, and roofing at Briarwood, which was constructed in 1970. The current building envelope has reached the end of its useful lifespan, is tremendously energy inefficient, and encourages moisture and mold issues.

This “Green Communities and Energy Efficiency Upgrade” project encompasses building envelope renovations on the three-story building, including replacement of:

  • the roof with an Energy Star roofing system,
  • outdated vinyl siding with new exterior post-industrial recycled content fiber cement board siding,
  • decks and handrails,
  • the doors to the decks,
  • bathroom fans with Energy Star fans, and
  • toilets with water efficient 1.0 gpf toilets.

The installation of new energy-efficient windows will complete the improvements to the building envelopes. Utility consumption will be reduced by an estimated 28 percent for fixed-income residents when the work is finished. Additionally, three units will be converted to provide fully handicap accessible housing.

As the unemployment rate in the Puget Sound region hovers around 8.2 percent, these well-paying jobs will help reinvigorate the local economy. A study by the Econsult Corporation has measured the economic impact of investing in public housing. 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 [King County Housing Authority] 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 ORB Architects. The plumbing contractor is United Plumbing, and Alside Supply Center will install the new siding. Accurate Painting is the painting contractor. SQI, Inc. will install the new roof. Carpentry and drywall work on the accessible units will be provided by Westcoast Contracting. Approximately 35 workers from a variety of trades and occupations will be employed on the project. Work is expected to be completed by January 2011.

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