Here’s the press release from the Asheville Housing Authority:
The Asheville Housing Authority was recently certified for accreditation by the Sustainable Performance Institute (www.sustainable-performance.org) as a sustainable affordable housing provider. The Institute partnered with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to create a customized accreditation program for public housing authorities and other grantees. Asheville Housing Authority was one of 40 agencies and companies from around the United States that went through the process of achieving this unique recognition, which provided support to internalize best practices and then validated that the applicant has institutionalized the systems, processes and program management to deliver best practices in green building, and realize portfolio-wide improvements over time.
The Asheville Housing Authority was accredited in part based on the significant commitment it has made over the last several years to energy efficiency. Examples include:
• Implementation of an energy performance contract with Siemens that has reduced baseline energy and water consumption significantly, with electricity down 20%, natural gas down 34%, and water consumption down 49%.
• Replacement of more than 13,000 incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents.
• Replacement of more than 7,000 windows with low-E, high efficiency windows.
• Major energy efficiency renovations of Aston Park Tower and the W.C. Reid Center, currently nearing completion.
“We are proud of our green team for securing this recognition, and of all of our employees and partners for successfully implementing these important projects,” said Housing Authority CEO Gene Bell.
The accreditation process included an important innovation category for the Housing Authority’s partnership with Green Opportunities. Together the two living-wage certified agencies are working to train public housing residents and other low income individuals and help place them in green collar jobs. GO trainees were employed to weatherize more than 1,100 apartments during the Siemens project, and are currently employed in renovation of the W.C. Reid Center into a Green Jobs Education and Training Center. “We recognize that the Housing Authority is not truly sustainable long term if our residents do not have skills for and access to quality jobs,” said David Nash, COO. “Green Opportunities has become a critical training resource and strong partner, along with many private-sector businesses who have stepped up to hire those trainees.”
The HUD-SPI technical assistance and accreditation process helped the Housing Authority establish specific and measurable goals for the future, including an additional 10% reduction of overall energy consumption over a seven year period, training of all staff to fully implement a green operations and maintenance manual, and engaging Housing Authority residents directly in energy conservation goals and measures.
“Despite all the funding challenges in the nation today, we are committed to reducing our impact on the environment and are convinced that innovative people working together can make a real difference,” said Bell.