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SAHF Releases Tools for Energy and Water Management in Affordable Housing
Spotts Posted  6 years ago By Michael Spotts
From the Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future and Green Affordable Housing Coalition websites:

"Created by SAHF and Bright Power, Inc. with support from New York Community Trust and Doris Duke Foundation

The following tools, developed by SAHF and Bright Power, Inc. in collaboration with Common Ground, Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation, St. Nicks Alliance and University Neighborhood Housing Program, are intended to help improve energy and water management and reduce costs, spending and environmental impacts over the long‐term, while helping to preserve affordable properties.
A summary and explanation of these tools can be found here.

Checklist: Annual Budgeting

Checklist: Annual Energy Meeting (Organizational Level)
Checklist: Annual Energy Reviews (For Properties) & Property Goal‐Sheet
Checklists: Building Maintenance
Checklist: Efficient Building Operations and Maintenance
Checklist: Energy Trend Monitoring
Checklist: Portfolio Energy Tracking Set‐Up
Checklist: Tracking Building Upgrade Performance
Checklist: Utility Bill Processing
Worksheet: Effective Tenant Engagement
Worksheet: Energy Management Responsibilities
Worksheet: Recommended Super Equipment

In addition, please read this article written by Stephen Burrington and SAHF’s President and CEO Bill Kelly about the various aspects and practices that can affect energy performance in affordable housing."

EPA's Battle of the Buildings is Back
Owens Posted  6 years ago By Josh Owens
Back by popular demand, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is once again hosting a coast-to-coast battle to see which building can reduce its energy waste the most. This year’s Battle of the Buildings is bigger and better than ever, with new opportunities for recognition and new ways to participate!
Third-party organizations—such as industry associations, local governments, utilities, and energy efficiency service and product providers—can use the competition as a platform to deliver value to your customers, constituents, and members by engaging them in a fun and cost-effective way to save energy and water.
  • Demonstrate leadership in energy and environmental stewardship.
  • Generate enthusiasm and awareness among building employees and occupants for energy and water management.
  • Make efficient behaviors and practices part of the culture.
  • Achieve real energy, water, and cost savings.
  • Receive national attention and recognition from EPA.


Daylighting Waterways
O'Leary Posted  6 years ago By Ceara O'Leary

I am currently spending much of my time working in support of the Detroit Works Project, an ambitious long-term vision for the future of Detroit, which I will certainly write more about soon. When I have a few spare moments at work, my mind wanders to stormwater management efforts and daylighting urban waterways. Indeed, I look forward to spending more time working on the Bloody Run Creek Greenway Redevelopment Project, previously introduced on the Field Notes blog. Meanwhile, I have been reading up on other daylighting projects across the country.

Children playing by Strawberry Creek

Strawberry Creek

Several sources cite stream daylighting projects in Berkeley, CA as early progenitors of other creek diversion and restoration projects. In particular, Strawberry Creek is a waterway that runs exposed through the UC Berkeley campus but is piped through most of the city to the San Francisco Bay. In the 1980s, a portion of the creek that ran under an old railyard was daylit within the context of a larger neighborhood park. The creek is now a cherished amenity, which has boosted property values, reduced local crime and contributed to stormwater management. Notably, city officials initially resisted the proposed park and Strawberry Creek’s success is largely due to the spirited support of the surrounding community.
Gilkey Creek

Gilkey Creek, Flint

Closer to home in Flint, MI, the daylighting of Gilkey Creek from 2007-2009 turned an often-overwhelmed underground drainage culvert into a natural waterway, effectively eliminating flood risks in a frequently-inundated area. This environmental restoration project daylit 1100 feet of the creek and the included a retention pond, stream bank and wetlands meadow with native plantings that further contribute to stormwater management. And in Kalamazoo, the Arcadia Creek daylighting project linked ecological and economic revitalization. This effort included early buy-in from local businesses and nearby property owners, contributing to its success. Additionally, the Arcadia daylighting project includes a stormwater pond that is designed as a public amphitheater and further contributes the overall impact on the city’s downtown redevelopment. These examples illustrate the potential benefits of creek daylighting in terms of stormwater management and environmental rehabilitation, as well as community and economic development

The term daylighting refers to the restoration of a stream that was once diverted into a culvert pipe or drainage system. In general, daylit creeks and urban wetlands have the potential to serve as natural drainage systems that contribute to the retention and filtration of stormwater runoff.  In many cases, daylighting projects do not necessarily unearth covered creeks, but rather approximate former riparian routes and sometimes serve as sewer separation strategies. Importantly, in city’s with combined sewer systems, the restoration of urban waterways diverts stormwater from municipal treatment facilities, potentially reducing polluted discharge into larger bodies of water. According to The New York Times, 772 cities across the country have combined systems, which collect wastewater and storm runoff in the same pipes, and are designed to overflow during heavy rains, rather than overwhelm treatment plants.

As in many older cities, combined sewer overflow afflicts Detroit, and the city would benefit greatly from increased efforts at environmentally-sensible stormwater management.  The implementation of wetlands and daylit waterways could provide a partial means to this end. At present, the local Sierra Club chapter and the city’s Green Task Force Water Subcommittee, as well as the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, are working to improve stormwater management in the city and reduce the risk of overwhelming the combined sewer system. However, much work remains to be done. One of the driving factors of the Bloody Run Creek project is the impact that the proposed waterway could make on the diversion, retention and filtration of stormwater runoff.  Correspondingly, one of the most exciting aspects of the project for me is the potential to complement and collaborate with other progressive stormwater solutions already at play in the city. As our team pushes the project forward, it is important to note that for many daylighting precedents, public participation was central to success. In particular, educating and engaging with the surrounding communities early in the planning process often contributed to ongoing investment and support.

To close, I want to highlight one more ambitious project that may provide an ideal precedent for citywide stormwater improvements along sustainable lines. Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters program is a 25-year plan to “protect and enhance [their] watersheds by managing stormwater with innovative green infrastructure.” In early April of this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency endorsed the city’s plans for green stormwater management, an important step in a game-changing endeavor. Detroit boasts similar potential. Please see the resources below for additional information.

Arcadia Creek Bridge

Arcadia Creek, Kalamazoo


Strawberry Creek:



Michigan Creeks:










Enterprise Submits Comments on the Science Behind Green Building Rating Systems
Spotts Posted  6 years ago By Michael Spotts
On May 8, Enterprise Deputy Director of Green Communities Elizabeth Richards submitted comments for the record on the development and evaluation of the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria for a House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight hearing on "The Science Behind Green Building Rating Systems." The comments outlined the inclusive and rigorous process through which the Criteria were developed.

The comments also highlighted the results from Enterprise's evaluation of Green Communities-certified developments. The analysis found that the lifetime utility cost savings of $3,709 per dwelling unit are sufficient to repay the $3,546 per-unit cost of complying with the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria. To integrate only the energy and water efficiency measures, the median cost is $1,139 per unit, returning $3709 in projected lifetime utility savings. This measure of benefits is likely understated, as the calculation does not include other benefits that the Criteria can produce, such as improvements in health and reductions in transportation costs.

eliminating the consumption of plastic bottles of water
Bourland Posted  6 years ago By Dana Bourland
terrific to see the growing attention around the wastefulness of the whole bottled water industry.  not sure when exactly this because such a phenomenom for us to only drink water sold to us in plastic bottles..  great to see students taking a stand to elimate water bottles from their schools.....maybe we can see this take off in other schools and in multifamily buildings and in.....the website below has great resources on why we should rethink our consumption of bottled water.



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