2013 was a great year at SPI. We worked with a wide variety of companies–from global manufacturing giants to universities and from large multi-national design firms to small, single office architecture studios–to help them develop or fine-tune their sustainability programs. In addition, SPI’s Certification program was adopted by HUD and 24 affordable housing developers from around the country became accredited in the SPI-HUD Accreditation program.
In 2011, the GSA released an RFP on behalf of HUD for organizational accreditation, training and technical assistance. HUD’s goal was to help affordable housing developers implement portfolio-wide improvements that would result in energy savings over time and increased green building and operations. HUD recognized the connection between organizational capability and portfolio performance. SPI’s existing green firm certification was chosen and adapted specifically for the use of affordable housing developers, addressing internal organizational effectiveness related to culture, systems, processes and procedures as well as external contracts, procurement and portfolio management.
The new SPI-HUD Accreditation program was developed over the course of 8 months and then piloted with 49 organizations, 24 of which achieved SPI-HUD Affordable Housing Accreditation within 2013 (see list below). Participants, whose portfolios ranged in size from 24 units to 179,000 units, set goals for Portfolio Performance – energy, water, and indoor air quality (required), as well as carbon emissions and waste/recycling (optional) – and for operations/administration. The program required a minimum energy reduction goal of 5% portfolio-wide over 5 years. Most participants exceed the minimum, with reduction targets of up to 25%.
Actions taken to improve long-term performance ranged from relatively common best practices such as goal-setting and tenant engagement, to aspects that were new to many participants, such as building commissioning, green O&M guidelines and green quality control protocols.
Participants found both the content and the process of the program valuable. One said, “This certification process really brought the staff together around a common sustainability goal.” Another commented, “The program helped us codify things we had spoken about for some time but were not able to prioritize and bring to fruition. Now, we have a plan in place with goals to strive towards and to continue to increase our efforts of sustainability.”
Bottom line, this pilot program demonstrates that SPI’s approach is right-on! There is a strong correlation between how effectively an organization has institutionalized sustainability and their ability to manage a higher level of performance across their portfolio.
SPI-HUD Accredited Organizations:
- Asheville Housing Authority
- Boston Housing Authority
- Builders of Hope
- Communities First
- Community Housing Partners
- Denver Housing Authority
- Eastern Iowa Regional Housing Authority
- Hacienda CDC
- Housing Assistance Program of Essex County
- Hale Empowerment and Revitalization Organization, Inc.
- Homeowners Rehab Inc.
- Knox County Housing Authority
- Metro West Housing Solutions
- National Housing Trust/Enterprise
- New York City Housing Authority
- Philadelphia HA
- Related Management
- Rural Ulster Preservation Company
- San Antonio HA
- The Housing Company
- The Schochet Companies
- Unity Council
- West Side Federation Supportive Housing
- Yurok Indian Housing Authority