A mixed-income community of 40 townhomes and apartments has won the 2014 Rental Housing Association’s Community of Excellence Award in the Green/Sustainable Category.

The Villages at Hospital Hill II, developed and managed by Boston-based The Community Builders Inc., is outfitted with PV panels and a special stormwater management system. The Energy Star-certified community in Northampton, Mass., is surrounded by scenic walking trails along the Mill River.

Each apartment in the development comes with energy-efficient appliances, washers and dryers, and wall air conditioners. Incandescent light bulbs have been swapped out for compact fluorescent bulbs which use nearly 60% less energy and last up to ten times longer. Additionally, state of the art outdoor lighting was installed for reduced light pollution.

To ensure energy savings and low utility bills year round, staff members at The Villages at Hospital Hill II encourage residents to turn down their thermostats by two degrees in the winter and raise it two degrees in the summer, an effort that will save 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.

The Community Builders operates a portfolio of 10,000 apartments across 14 states and Washington, D.C., totaling 7.6 million square feet of real estate. The organization plans to use several energy saving pathways to achieve a 20 percent reduction in energy intensity by 2020, including improved operations and maintenance, resident engagement, appliance and equipment upgrades, multiple approaches to whole building retrofits, and the use of renewable energy.