The acquisition of Echo Valley provided Fairstead with the chance to try something a little different, and that something has already made a big difference. Included in the company’s $26.4M renovation plan was the implementation of a first-of-its-kind “community” solar program for Rhode Island. The decision to invest in rooftop solar panels for the 10-building complex has made Fairstead a de facto energy company. This “democratization” offers renewable power not only to Echo Valley’s 100 families, but also to the broader community, at a price that is approximately 10% less than that charged by the local utility.
As Echo Valley’s residents continue to profit from the solar panel installation, they will also benefit from the extension Fairstead received on the Section 8 / LIHTC status, ensuring the affordability of their living spaces into the future. Those spaces have undergone updates to their kitchens and baths and received eco-conscious upgrades — including an oil-to-gas conversion to the heating system and air sealing, new flooring, and as-needed accessibility enhancements. Common areas, too, were elevated, with the addition of high-efficiency fixtures and improvements to the security system. New windows and siding have improved the building’s insulation, not to mention curb appeal.