Three District of Columbia Housing Authority properties were recognized for sustainability efforts.
Greenleaf Family and Sibley Plaza residents and staff were given special honors at the Department of Energy and Environment’s (DOEE) seventh annual Sustainability Awards for its recent POWER DOWN DC: A Multifamily Energy and Water Competition, a partnership with the DCHA Heathy and Sustainable Communities initiative. The awards ceremony highlighted businesses, organizations, and schools that support the District’s Sustainable DC plan in areas such as energy and water conservation, pollution prevention, stormwater management, and green building construction.
“We know cities need to take bold action in order to lower our greenhouse gas emissions nationally. It’s also clear that leadership from local governments and the private sector will be critical to increasing resilience and mitigating the effects of climate change,” said DOEE Director Tommy Wells at the December 13 event held at the Embassy of Finland. “This year’s District of Columbia Sustainability Award winners illustrate how private sector partners are working with local government to test innovative concepts and integrate sustainability into everyday operations. They are true leaders in making the District a greener, healthier, more livable city.”
Two new awards this year were the POWER DOWN DC Award and People’s Choice Award.
POWER DOWN DC is a voluntary building-to-building education series and utility reduction competition for apartment buildings in the District, which was piloted in 2016. Two cohorts of properties representing seven buildings and over 900 households participated in POWER DOWN DC in 2016. DCHA had its own cohort with three participating properties.
The program encouraged behavior change through education, group and individual activities, and regular reminders about how to conserve energy and water.
“It is not about the hardware, but the people who use it,” said Wells.
Sibley Plaza won for the overall electricity reduction. Greenleaf Family received an award for outstanding participation. Langston Terrace had an honorable mention. All three properties piloted the DCHA Heathy and Sustainable Communities initiative. Educational materials for residents and staff were developed as part of DCHA’s commitment to the Better Buildings Challenge for Multifamily Partners, supported by Enterprise Community Partners, Group 14 Engineering, in partnership with DOEE.
“Our residents learned the importance of saving energy and water through this program. Their efforts help DCHA’s work in creating and maintaining sustainable, healthy communities,” said DCHA Executive Director Adrianne Todman.
POWER DOWN DC, a pilot program funded by DOEE through a Green Building Fund grant, engaged residents and building staff to conserve resources, achieve measurable reductions in energy and water use, and foster a culture of conservation in multifamily residential rental units in the District. Materials from the pilot program will soon be available on the DOEE and Sustainable DC websites.
DOEE was able to create a competition cohort specifically for DCHA properties and incorporate the DCHA Healthy and Sustainable Communities initiative.
Ester Hardesty, resident council president of Langston Terrace, was on hand for the ceremony.
“We learned simple tricks to save water and energy to help the housing authority save money to put to use in other projects and services for residents,” Hardesty said.
Fixing leaks immediately, not running water when it isn’t needed, and taking shorter showers were a few ways she said she cut down on water use in her home. She also said she makes sure she turns off lights when she leaves a room, doesn’t leave the television on, and unplugs her cell phone charger when she isn’t using it.
AvalonBay Communities, Inc. also received a POWER DOWN DC Award. AvalonBay’s The Albemarle won for greatest overall energy and water reduction. The 2016 District Sustainability Awards were given to Atlas Brew Works, Compost Cab, Grid Alternatives Mid-Atlantic, Historic Congressional Cemetery, and SuperFd Catering.
American University received the first ever People’s Choice Award.
The Embassy of Finland was presented with the District’s Partner in Sustainability Award. The embassy was the first to sign the District’s diplomatic pledge to go green, Wells said.
For more on the District’s Sustainability Awards click here.