National CORE Continues Building the Future of Community


Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. – National Community Renaissance (National CORE) has established itself as the nonprofit affordable housing developer leading the nation in sustainability and energy efficiency.

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National CORE is one of 12 builders, and the only nonprofit affordable developer, to be designated by the U.S. Green Building Council as a 2021 LEED Power Builder. The number one priority for National CORE is to find innovative and sustainable approaches to address the housing affordability crisis.

“What we have realized is that there are ways to build both cost-effectively and sustainably,” said National CORE President/CEO Steve PonTell. “With the help of incentives, in California and federally, for sustainable affordable housing, we’ve been able to open multiple zero net energy developments in the last year – apartment communities that generate their own renewable power and need no energy from the grid. This reduces our operating costs and saves our residents money on their utility bills.”

This is the third consecutive year that National CORE has been designated a LEED Power Builder. The 2021 award was reserved for developers who achieved LEED certification on more than 75% of their units or homes constructed in the past year.

“Thirty percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. can be traced back to buildings,” PonTell noted. “We have to provide electricity, heat, and AC for our homes and workplaces and, together, it’s contributing more to climate change than the entire U.S. transportation sector. However, our recent work proves that we can create buildings that conserve our natural resources and protect our environment.”

National CORE and its local government partners have attracted four grants from the California Strategic Growth Council, totaling $104.2 million, to finance sustainable and affordable development across Southern California. The funds have been used to start construction on two transit-oriented affordable housing communities in Santa Ana and Unincorporated East Los Angeles and to create two zero net energy affordable housing communities, Vista Verde in Ontario and Crestview Terrace in San Bernardino. Altogether, the four developments provide 456 apartment homes.

“We’re very grateful for the partnership of the California Strategic Growth Council and the city and county governments that have tirelessly worked with us,” said National CORE Director of Sustainable Design Tim Kohut. “These innovative public-private partnerships have showcased the many benefits of strategic, sustainable development. They have invested in affordable housing where it’s needed the most, improved the health and future of communities, both locally and globally, and provided important public benefits like local parks, street repairs, and zero emissions public transit.”

At no out-of-pocket cost, National CORE is also currently renovating much of its existing portfolio to increase energy efficiency and sustainability. By installing 15 megawatts of SOMAH-funded photovoltaic solar panels at 55 of its existing communities, National CORE is reducing its residents’ electricity bills to near zero, reducing its own operational energy costs by 40%, and leveraging rebate funds to replace turf on properties with drought-tolerant landscaping.

National CORE has recently received many awards for outstanding individual examples of sustainable development and planning, including:

  • Best Green Development – Day Creek Senior Villas (2021 Affordable Housing Finance Reader’s Choice Awards)
  • Environmental Award – San Ysidro Senior Village (2021 San Diego Housing Federation [SDHF] Ruby Awards)
  • Best in Green Affordable Multifamily Community Finalist – San Ysidro Senior Village (2020 National Association of Home Builders Multifamily Pillars of the Industry Awards)
  • Healthy Community Award – Encanto Village (2020 Circulate San Diego Momentum Awards)
  • Innovation in Green Community Planning – Gateway Cities Climate Action Plan Framework (2019 Planning Awards, American Planning Association)
  • Efficiency & Sustainability: New Construction – Mission Cove (2019 SDHF Ruby Awards)


Media Contact:
Jill Van Balen
[email protected]
(909) 204-3434