Apr 22Mercy Housing Seeks to Make Affordable Housing Green through Environmental Initiative, Green Hope
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 3/21/2016
Denver, CO—In celebration of Earth Day, affordable housing nonprofit Mercy Housing announced the roll out of its environmental sustainability program, Green Hope.
The initiative is designed to reduce waste, reduce consumption of natural resources, and create healthier living environments in the affordable communities in which it serves. Green Hope will guide Mercy Housing in all aspects of its operations, from designing, building, and rehabilitating properties, to office practices, property operations, and Resident Services.
“At Mercy Housing, we believe it is our duty and responsibility to incorporate environmental stewardship principles into all areas of our work,” said Jane Graf, President and CEO of Mercy Housing. “Green Hope will help us create healthy, vibrant communities while also reducing our environmental footprint.”
“The affordable housing industry has lagged behind other housing industries in energy efficiency and renewable energy because affordable housing developers are generally not incented to invest in them,” said Caitlin Rood, Director of Environmental Sustainability at Mercy Housing. “Through Green Hope, we are exploring ways in which to bring the industry up to date. An added benefit is cost savings: if we can reduce the operating expenses of affordable housing, we will have more money and resources to dedicate to more affordable housing.”
In pursuit of its environmental goals, Mercy Housing has made four external commitments:
- It has joined the Better Buildings Challenge, an initiative by the U.S. Departments of Energy and of Housing and Urban Development to reduce energy and water use by 20 percent over 10 years.
- It has joined Enterprise Green Communities’ Call to Action to “green up” every aspect of their work by 2020.
- It has pledged to reduce our energy and water consumption by 20 percent by 2020 as part of the Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future’s (SAHF’s) “Big Reach” initiative.
- It has pledged the installation of at least 1MW of solar electric and 30,000 therms of solar thermal by 2020
The program has already implemented many projects, including:
- Water conservation upgrades, including the installation of faucet aerators, low flow showerheads, toilet flappers and diverters, and low and ultralow flow toilets
- Energy efficiency upgrades such as lighting, insulation, air sealing, efficient space and hot water heating systems, and boiler controls
- Solar electric and solar hot water heating
- Measuring utility use at all properties
- Operation-wide purchasing standards (such as floor covering, water fixtures, lighting, and other items) that include minimum environmental threshold requirements
- Built and retrofitted existing buildings to external standards such as LEED, Evergreen Standards, Enterprise Green Communities Criteria, and other local environmental standards
- And more!
About Mercy Housing, Inc.
Mercy Housing is one of the nation’s largest affordable housing nonprofits. Established by the Sisters of Mercy in 1981, Mercy Housing has more than 30 years’ experience developing, preserving, managing, and financing affordable, program-enriched housing. The Founding Communities of Mercy Housing include eight congregations of Catholic Women Religious across the country. Mercy Housing’s subsidiaries further the organization’s mission: Mercy Housing Management Group offers professional property management and Mercy Loan Fund finances nonprofit organizations.
Serving tens of thousands of people with low incomes in 41 states, Mercy Housing works with families, seniors, veterans, and people with special needs in order to build a more humane world where poverty is alleviated, communities are healthy, and all people can develop their full potential. To learn more about Mercy Housing and the services it provides, visit www.mercyhousing.org.
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