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New Program Helps Residents Make SMART Choices

July 7 marks the official launch of CHP SMART Homes, a comprehensive green tenant education program and utility data benchmarking system being developed, delivered, and evaluated as part of Community Housing Partners’ (CHP) participation in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development/U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings Challenge.

CHP SMART (Saving Money and Resources Together) Homes, which is being funded in part by a $50,000 grant from Enterprise Green Communities, will initially be rolled out to three multi-family rental communities owned and managed by CHP: Linden Green Apartments in Christiansburg, Va; Meadowview Apartments in Pulaski, Va; and Greenstone on 5th Apartments in Charlottesville, Va.

The results of this pilot initiative will then be used to replicate and institutionalize the program across CHP’s 96-property multi-family portfolio and will be available for use by other affordable housing providers. 

CHP SMART Homes takes a variety of approaches to help residents reduce energy use and create healthier living environments. All tenants will learn about the program when they sign their lease and will be asked to watch a short informational video as an introduction to the program and its goals.  Residents will be able to participate in video-based educational programs created by CHP, receive walk-through evaluations of their apartments from CHP SMART Homes’ advisors that will provide energy-saving advice specific to their home, earn rewards by participating in energy-savings challenges and contests with other CHP rental communities, and receive the CHP SMART Homes official certification of their apartment if they complete the educational program. CHP SMART Homes also offers unique children's programming, including after-school energy education tutorials and activities and a series of puppet shows designed to make energy conservation fun and interesting to younger residents. 

Mason Cavell, CHP’s Director of Energy Efficiency Programs, explains that the goal of CHP SMART Homes is to help residents save money on their utility bills and help reduce the overall energy use at CHP’s rental communities. “It is also important to invite our residents of all ages into a discussion about how they can contribute to a greener, cleaner environment by using energy more wisely.  We hope that the tips and practices we suggest to residents not only help them save resources, but also make for healthier families by reducing the use of toxic or harmful products in the home.  This program is a win-win for CHP and our residents.”