Cinnabar Commons

Cinnabar Commons
Santa Clara County

Marcus DuPlessis, Asset Manager for Seven Hills Properties, hadn’t been planning an energy upgrade at Cinnabar Commons, an affordable housing complex near downtown San Jose. But when a colleague told him about the Bay Area Multifamily Building Enhancements program and its attractive rebates, he decided to look into how the program might help reduce energy use at Cinnabar Commons and at a Seven Hills multifamily property in San Francisco. 

Built in 2006, Cinnabar Commons consists of 245 rental apartments ranging in size from studios to three bedrooms. With guidance from the program’s energy consultants, Association for Energy Affordability, DuPlessis implemented cost-effective upgrades at the property — including high efficiency garage and bathroom lighting and condensing boilers — that are expected to reduce overall energy use by about 11%.

The four-acre Cinnabar Commons development consists of five wood-framed buildings built over a concrete parking garage. The Arts and Crafts-inspired design features wood balconies, porches and deep roof eaves, with attractively landscaped courtyards and common areas connecting the four-story buildings. 

Participation in the Bay Area Multifamily Building Enhancements program was straightforward and easy, said Asset Manager Marcus DuPlessis. He particularly appreciated that there was no “bait and switch” or red tape when it came time to select improvements, and he noted that the program’s audit and reporting process was user-friendly and simple. 

DuPlessis said that he is “really excited to have cutting-edge technology,” including “top-of-the-line” boilers for domestic hot water and LED lighting that saves energy and has a long life, which reduces maintenance and lamp replacement costs. 

DuPlessis would recommend the program to all multifamily building owners, noting that although his San Jose and San Francisco properties benefited from economies of scale — annual energy costs at each property are about $100,000 — the program is flexible and can be tailored to the individual needs of any property. The Bay Area Multifamily Building Enhancements program has expanded DuPlessis’s perspective on energy upgrade opportunities, and he plans to look for more opportunities to save money and be “green.”


There was no ‘bait and switch’ or red tape.
Property Profile
875 Cinnabar St., San Jose, CA
Seven Hills Properties
# of Units
# of Buildings
Sq. ft.
Year Built
Upgrade at a Glance
Energy Savings
  • 10.7 % overall energy savings
  • 4,386 Therms saved
  • 107,295 kWh saved
  • 97.3 metric tons C02 emissions reduced
Rebate Amount

$ 183,750 

Measures Included
  • Two high efficiency condensing central water heaters/boilers 
  • Upgrade of in-unit, hallway, and garage lighting to LED fixtures
Other Benefits
  • Lower energy bills
  • Increased safety from improved lighting
PDF icon Santa Clara Case Study 2016.pdf1.41 MB