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13 Oct 2013

PHA nationally recognized as a Green Organization

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October 13, 2013 Category: Local Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: PHA’s Norris Apartments in North Philadelphia.


Agency receives accreditation from the Sustainable Performance Institute and HUD


The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) is one of 17 affordable housing organizations across the country to achieve full Green Organizational Accreditation through a pilot program from the Sustainable Performance Institute (SPI) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The accreditation recognizes HUD-assisted organizations that are institutionalizing energy-efficient, green building practices in their day-to-day operations, as well as long-term rehabilitation and redevelopment of their affordable housing portfolios.


PHA has a long track record of replacing outdated high-rise developments with new, sustainable communities that boast energy-saving features. In May 2012, PHA opened the new Norris Apartments in North Philadelphia, its first LEED-certified development. Paschall Village in Southwest Philadelphia has garnered multiple awards for its high-performance features, including central geothermal heating and cooling, solar domestic hot water, solar panels, and a rainwater harvesting/irrigation system.


“I am honored that PHA is being recognized as a national leader and model for our sustainability efforts,” said PHA President & CEO Kelvin A. Jeremiah. “As a public agency, we have a responsibility to conduct business in the most environmentally-conscious manner possible. We’re committed to doing our part, and working with Mayor Nutter and the City Council, to ensure that future generations enjoy a healthy and safe environment and to helping Philadelphia become the greenest city in America.”


The accreditation also demonstrates PHA’s commitment to expanding beyond green building. As part of the accreditation process, PHA developed an agency-wide green action plan with over 50 goals that will touch both residents and employees. The comprehensive, long-term plan calls for increasing energy efficiency, conserving energy and water, and cutting down on waste, while also reducing operating costs.


To further these sustainability efforts, PHA has selected Mondre Energy, Inc., (MEI) to advise the Authority on strategic energy planning and procurement. MEI helps large-scale energy users lower energy consumption and demand, reduce carbon footprints, and increase the use of renewable energy.


Twenty-four organizations from across the U.S. were accredited through the pilot program.  Of those, 17, including PHA, achieved full accreditation, which is valid for five years. An additional seven organizations received provisional accreditation, meaning they have made commitments to the best practices with the intention of implementing them sometime during the accreditation term.


“Full Accreditation means the Philadelphia Housing Authority has implemented best practices in both management of its housing portfolio and effectiveness of its operations,” said Elisabeth Krautscheid, Director of the SPI-HUD Accreditation Program. “In particular, we commend PHA for their excellent tenant outreach materials, comprehensive approach to employee involvement, including the employee pledge, and thorough communication strategy.”


The SPI-HUD Green Organizational Accreditation is part of HUD’s Affordable Green Initiative, launched in 2012. The initiative supports HUD grantees and affordable housing organizations in achieving portfolio-wide improvements by offering free training, technical assistance and accreditation. PHA shared the plan with its Board of Commissioners at the September 2013 Board meeting.


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