SOURCE: Neighborworks America

April 22, 2011 10:13 ET

NeighborWorks Acts to Meet Green Challenges in Building and Beyond Bricks and Mortar

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - Apr 22, 2011) - This Earth Day 2011, NeighborWorks®America, one of the largest community development corporations in the country, renewed its commitment to provide training, technical assistance and grants to help more nonprofit businesses in the NeighborWorks® network continue to innovate by incorporating green strategies throughout their programs. Whether it's cutting edge construction of passive housing, reclamation of a toxic World War II era greenhouse that's transformed into affordable homes, or the installation of energy saving appliances in thousands of new and rehabbed affordable homes, nonprofit builders in the NeighborWorks network are among the leaders in green development.

NeighborWorks America has moved forward with a variety of initiatives to support the environmental efforts of the NeighborWorks network and nonprofit housing and community development since Earth Day 2010. Among these is the recent national symposium -- "Green Choices, Green Value: For the Communities and Families We Serve" -- where green issues ranging from the health implications of green building, sustainable community planning and organizing efforts, and the benefits of green jobs were discussed and debated. More than 200 people attended the symposium. In addition, NeighborWorks America has expanded its offering of green courses -- offered both on-line and at the NeighborWorks® Training Institutes -- providing nonprofit developers and community leaders with up-to-date information on environmentally friendly practices.

"Our network organizations are leaders in green building, but their commitment to greening stretches beyond the bricks and mortar to all of their programs and the families that they serve," said Michelle Winters, senior manager for Green Strategies at NeighborWorks America.

NeighborWorks America supports incorporating green strategies into all business lines and in the day-to-day operations of the organizations because of the financial, social, and environmental benefits that greening can bring.

"We believe that green housing and education can help residents thrive in their homes and communities, and that comprehensive green strategies are the best way to deliver these benefits," said Winters.

NeighborWorks network organizations are achieving accolades and moving forward their green work in many areas. A few of these are:

  • A passive house built by Syracuse-based Home HeadQuarters won a 2011 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Housing Award. Said the AIA when it selected Home HeadQuarters: "...minimal to net-zero energy consumption embodied in architecture that is meant to nurture the spirit and engage the community as much as it is meant to perform in terms of costs and sustainability."
  • A rental and for-sale home development from the reclamation and redevelopment of a former World War II nursery site by Community Housing Development Corp. (CHDC), Richmond, Calif., and its partners that will result in healthy and affordable apartments for seniors and energy efficient single-family homes. All the while, the so-called Miraflores project is expected to create 300 jobs.
  • A lower cost place for Primavera Foundation, Tucson, Ariz., to do business and provide job training to the community through the installation of nearly 40 kilowatts of solar panels on one of its administrative buildings. The installation sustained green jobs and is expected to save Primavera more than $7,000 per year.
  • Community HousingWorks of San Diego, Calif., released an online 360° Green Curriculum, a resource guide for sustainable living that was originally designed for their award winning Solara zero-energy affordable community. The innovative resource guide is available for download from Community HousingWorks' web site.
  • Two network organizations have received green business awards in their states. These awards reflect the innovative approaches such as NHS of New Haven's Home Improvement and Energy Conservation laboratory, and REACH CDC's broad sustainability and healthy living practices.

More information about NeighborWorks' green efforts can be found on the NeighborWorks Green Initiative web site: The site features information about green education and training offered by NeighborWorks, best green practices of community development nonprofits, and the latest industry news and research. The Green Initiative for healthy and sustainable communities is designed to help the housing and community development industry create "greener" and healthier housing and communities.

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