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Fox Run to get energy efficient through federal grant

By by Dianna Wray
Nov. 14, 2010 at 5:14 a.m.

Fox Run resident Stacie Vaughn examines new appliances in the first newly-remodeled unit at Fox Run Apartments. The interiors of all 150 units at the low income complex are scheduled to be remodeled through a federal grant.

Energy saving tipsUse low-watt energy efficient light bulbs.

Let dishes air dry instead of using the dishwasher.

Turn off the computer when it's not in use.

Take short showers instead of baths.

Source: www.energysavers.gov

Stacie Vaughn's eyes opened wide as she walked into the empty Fox Run apartment. She walked into the kitchen, examining gleaming new appliances.

"Oh, this is going to be nice," she said, running her hand along the new laminate countertop.

The Fox Run resident was one of a handful of residents and officials gathered recently to get a sneak peak at the first remodeled apartment in the complex.

Fox Run Apartments have changed a lot since being converted to low income housing in 2007. Now, the interiors of the units are getting a $1.8 million facelift.

By January, all 150 units of Fox Run Apartment Complex should have similar trappings, Fox Run manager Kim Ross said.

The apartments are being remodeled through the federal Green Retrofit program, an offshoot of President Obama's 2009 stimulus package. The grant is facilitated through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Office of Affordable Housing Preservation.

The grant money will be used to revamp the apartments, turning them into green, energy-saving residences that residents can be proud of, John Longoria, chairman of the Housing and Community Services board, said.

"This was something that needed to be done. It's important to keep the standards up for these residences. There's no reason why affordable housing can't be residences that people can take pride in," Longoria said.

Fox Run is the first apartment complex in Victoria to go green. Ross said.

The kitchens in every apartment will be fitted with energy efficient appliances, including new refrigerators and dishwashers.

Bathrooms are being fitted with traditional vanities made from materials with a low level volatile organic compounds. They're also being fitted with water saver aerators to help keep water flow low, preventing waste of water.

Each apartment will also have new carpet and new interior doors made of low VOC materials.

In addition, all of the traditional light bulbs were replaced with energy saving 13-watt bulbs.

City of Victoria Environmental Programs Coordinator Marie Lester said she was excited to see the complex putting in fixtures allowing residents to use less energy.

"It saves energy, and that's better for the environment, for the quality of life of people in the area. It's better for everybody," Lester said.

Each unit takes three days to be remodeled, with contractors working around the families, Ross said.

Vaughn said she looks forward to seeing improvements like this in her own apartment.

"I like the cabinets and the new air conditioner unit. It will be nice because it's hard to get the right temperature with the one I have now," Vaughn said. She said she hoped the new energy efficient trappings would help by lowering her bills. "I'm hoping so, because, Lord knows, that would be great, but I think they're really nice."

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