CHP Green Team: 2013 Impact ReportPosted on Sep 19th, 2013
As summer comes to a close, the CHP Green Team also celebrates its one-year anniversary. Comprised of 15 CHP employees hand selected by President and CEO Janaka Casper, the Green Team has grown and evolved in the past year as it formalized its mission and began to perform activities focused on research, measurement, engagement, and education in order to further CHP’s sustainability agenda.
With a membership that reflects the wide array of business lines and operations of the company, the Green Team has seen a number of successes on both a departmental and company-wide level. Team members have conducted research projects and cost-benefit analyses around energy-tracking software, green cleaning products, recycling programs, using rechargeable batteries at our rental communities, and installing renewable energy technology at the company’s headquarters in Christiansburg, Virginia. Members of the team have also been instrumental in directly orchestrating sustainable practices, such as the substantial reduction or elimination of paper use in construction, payroll, and accounts payable activities.
Sustainability is an integral part of CHP’s mission and vision. It is a commitment to both the environment and the community that CHP will work to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the needs of future generations. It is a way of conducting business that values efficiency, innovation, and passion. The following summary will highlight some of the achievements of the Green Team in greater detail and project where the Green Team is headed.
ENERGY MANAGEMENT TEAM
The Energy Management Team (EMT) was created by a group of innovative and passionate CHP employees after a Green Team presentation on corporate energy management. Originally envisioned as a committee of volunteers that would identify the means to reduce CHP’s carbon footprint and manage energy usage, the EMT has evolved into something more dynamic. Currently, the EMT is in the process of conducting a comprehensive energy audit of CHP’s corporate headquarters and surveying employees about their comfort level and habits related to energy use. After implementing this pilot program, the EMT hopes to undertake other ventures that will reduce CHP’s environmental impact and realize substantial energy savings that will benefit the company. The goal is to eventually offer the EMT’s services to CHP’s entire real estate portfolio and, eventually, to external organizations. By doing so, the EMT helps transform sustainability from a business philosophy into a viable line of business. Groups such as the EMT help CHP remain on the cutting edge of corporate sustainability and take on the role of a pioneer and leader.
GREEN PROPERTY MANAGEMENT ONLINE EDUCATION
CHP, Community Housing Works in San Diego, and the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership received funding from NeighborWorks America in late 2012 to create online educational courses around Green Property Management. Through the efforts of CHP Energy Solutions staff, partner organizations, and select Green Team members, these educational courses are currently in the process of being finalized and becoming accredited by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Having this proprietary system will enable CHP to educate its staff around topics such as Resource Efficiency, Integrated Pest Management, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Resident Engagement. After accreditation is achieved, CHP will be able to share its expertise, knowledge, and best practices with other organizations--something that will benefit CHP and help other organizations integrate sustainability into their operations.
In July 2013, CHP was awarded full Green Organizational Accreditation by the Sustainability Performance Institute (SPI) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) newly-launched Affordable Green Initiative. The pilot program helps support HUD grantees and affordable housing organizations in their efforts to institutionalize sustainability and achieve higher levels of multi-family property performance. CHP has the distinction of being one of the first and few nonprofits in the nation to achieve this accreditation. CHP was also lauded for the knowledge and involvement of its staff, as well as for the innovation of its architectural arm, CHP Design Studio.
CHP has committed itself to quarterly events that bring together its family of employees and highlight the company’s green mission. The first of these events was on Earth Day which involved a potluck barbeque that showcased sustainable and healthy foods. It also provided employees with the opportunity to clear the Christiansburg corporate office’s community garden and plant a variety of vegetables that are being harvested for the office’s use. The second event involved a presentation to employees by the Energy Management Team (EMT) about its pilot program. This presentation was followed by a Q&A session and wholesome, locally-sourced foods. The Green Team will continue to coordinate events such as these and find creative ways to engage employees around sustainability in a fun manner.
While significant progress has been made in the Green Team’s first year, CHP recognizes that there is more to do. Responsible community development is about creating a better future, and CHP is determined to continue on a path that promotes sustainable practices and resources in its everyday business.
The future holds exciting opportunities for CHP and with ongoing feedback and suggestions from the rest of the organization’s staff, the Green Team will continue to develop and advance plans to incorporate sustainability into the organization’s daily operations. Over the next year, the Green Team plans to create a more structured sustainability framework and inspire action groups similar to the Energy Management Team. Additionally, plans are underway to provide further training, education, and guidance to employees around sustainability to make it more accessible and feasible to practice.
The CHP Green Team strongly believes that by working together with our employees, clients, partners and the community, we can make our neighborhoods and our planet a stronger, healthier place to live.