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NHC members tackle energy efficiency in housing

Energy efficient housing is the trend right now, and NHC members Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (Housing Authority) and National Housing & Rehabilitation Association (NH&RA) are keeping up with the times. Recently, Westlawn Gardens and Olga Village, developments owned by Housing Authority, earned international recognition for energy efficiency and NH&RA is set to host its first Road Show event, “Preservation Through Energy Efficiency,” in Philadelphia on April 3.

The event will serve as the kickoff for NH&RA’s national educational program to provide resources, technical assistance and training to multifamily affordable rental units. The initiative’s goal is to improve the utility performance of multifamily rental developments. Road Show participants will receive access to the program’s Knowledge Exchange, an online collaborative workspace for networking, research and resources. It was made possible with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
On the development side of energy efficiency, Westlawn Gardens was awarded Stage 3 Silver Certification in Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND), becoming the first development in the world to achieve Stage 3 Silver status and the highest rated neighborhood among LEED standards.  Olga Village also earned silver certification and received the New Construction Award from State & Local Energy Report, as an “outstanding public energy efficiency project.”
“It is a significant honor to receive these recognitions,” Tony Perez, secretary and executive director at the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee, said in a press release.  “We have prioritized energy-efficiency innovation and incorporated leading-edge design in our projects, which saves taxpayers money and gives our residents additional pride in their homes. These recognitions validate the work we do.”
Making affordable housing “green” can both be achievable and provide cost-savings for housing developers. NHC is doing its best to help the development community implement best practices and find new ways of going green. Our Feb. 24 forum, How green is my Housing Credit: Proven results from green affordable rental housing, with Enterprise Community Partnersand the U.S. Green Building Council, discussed ways to promote affordable green building, rehabilitation, and retrofits using the Housing Credit. The forum featured Linda Mandolini, president of Eden Housing, Jessica Jones, real estate development associate with Community Preservation and Development Corporation and John Lederer, director of construction management at Volunteers of America. They discussed how incorporating green features in affordable housing developments saves on operating costs, improves the health of residents and protects the environment by using less energy.
LEED-ND recognizes properties that protect and enhance overall health, quality of life and environment in a neighborhood. Methods used by LEED-recognized properties include green building, smart growth and urbanism. Additional NH&RA regional forums will be hosted in Atlanta, Denver, Indianapolis and Minneapolis, following the inaugural Road Show in Philadelphia.
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