Rooftop solar panels have already been installed at AMLI West Plano in Plano, Texas.
Rooftop solar panels have already been installed at AMLI West Plano in Plano, Texas.

AMLI Residential is going green.

The company recently announced it would install 330 kilowatts of solar panels across four of its communities in the Dallas area and, through a partnership with Green Mountain Energy Co., would purchase 100% renewable energy for all of the common areas at its apartment communities in Houston and Dallas.

"We worked with Green Mountain to identify four properties that were great candidates for solar panels, based on utility pricing, state legislation, and energy regulations in the market," says Erin Hatcher, vice president of sustainability at AMLI. "Our Dallas communities were a great fit because we had mid-sized buildings with a lot of available roof space, so we were able to take the idea from a want to a real possibility."

Two communities, AMLI Campion Trail and AMLI West Plano, already have solar panels installed; another solar array is currently underway at AMLI Frisco Crossing. One more will be completed at AMLI at the Ballpark in the fall of 2018. Upon completion, the four projects combined are expected to generate 20% of common-area electric use at each community, which AMLI says will offset 750,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually, the equivalent of 687 households turning off their lights for an entire year.

AMLI will also begin to power the common areas at more than 20 communities in Texas with renewable energy sources, which the company says will offset more than 20.1 million pounds of carbon dioxide per year, the equivalent of planting 2,300 trees or taking 2,100 cars off the road for a year.

For many AMLI residents, clean energy is a top priority in housing.

"Last year, we surveyed 3,000 of our residents to get an idea of what their wants and needs are around sustainability, and 85% of them said that living in a sustainable community is important to them," says Hatcher. "Plus, one of the most requested features by residents was to live in a community that had solar."

Hatcher says residents' preference for sustainability stems from a number of motivations, including the health and wellness benefits of clean energy, the desire to be part of a larger movement toward sustainability by reducing their personal carbon footprint, and the attendant cost savings on utility bills.

AMLI has also seen a strong interest in clean energy from investors looking at companies to support and properties to invest in.

"Renewable energy shows that we're doing business smarter and for the long term, and that our properties are a stable and quality investment product. And that has proved to be really attractive to our investors," Hatcher says. "This is truly a mutually beneficial initiative—for AMLI, Green Mountain Energy Co., our residents, and our investors.

"I hope that, moving forward, we can create more opportunities like this for both AMLI and the multifamily industry, and really start to see sustainability spread throughout our country."