By Macy Jenkins

WOODLAND, Calif. (CBS13) – A Woodland apartment complex is one of two housing projects worldwide to receive the World Habitat Award from the United Nations. The Spring Lake development by Mutual Housing has been recognized for its sustainability achievements.

“We were completely shocked,” said Rachel Iskow, the company’s CEO. “It’s really a validation of the exciting work we are doing at Mutual Housing.”

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The World Habitat Award recognizes sustainable and revolutionary housing projects. The other recipient of the World Habitat Award is a project in the Philippines that helped residents rebuild their homes using recycled debris after the 2013 hurricane.

The people who live in Spring Lake all work in agriculture, and before moving in, many of them didn’t have safe and reliable housing.

“I lived in a mobile home with my mom,” said Maribel Diaz, who moved in last year. Previously, she had struggled to live with her husband and two kids squeezed into one bedroom.

“It’s a very big difference now,” Diaz said. “It’s calm here, everybody’s friendly, everybody’s nice, helpful.”

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But Iskow told CBS13 Spring Lake is not your average housing development.

“It’s the first rental housing in the United States to receive certification as a zero-net energy development,” she explained.

In other words, 100% of the energy used by residents is fully generated by solar panels. Each unit has a light-up energy monitor and to cut down on water waste, they use smart shower heads.

“There is a little thermometer in there that knows when the water reaches 90 degrees,” Iskow said.

But beyond the technology, Spring Lake is committed to building a better life for all that live there.

“And really the residents here feel like they’re part of the solution to global warming,” Iskow said.

Mutual Housing will be presented with the award in February at a United Nations conference in Malaysia. And coming up in March, the development will break ground on the second phase of the community.

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