Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority - Enriching Lives in the Community for 80 Years

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Green Initiatives

Solar Panels

CMHA has begun one of the largest renewable energy projects in Cuyahoga County. The Authority built a solar panel field at the Campus that will power the Administrative Headquarters. The building is already LEED certified, which means it will meet the criteria for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

 

This sustainability project is a collaborative effort between CMHA, Carbon Vision, and Cleveland Public Power. The project is being developed and administered by Carbon Vision, a full service renewable energy analysis and project development firm headquartered in Shaker Heights. Carbon vision is leasing the land from CMHA with an option for CMHA to buy the panels after 15 years.

 

The 1.1 megawatt solar field, with close to 4,200 solar panels, occupies about six acres of a twelve acre parcel adjacent to the CMHA Campus off East 82nd Street and Kinsman Avenue. It produces power on a post-industrial brown field site that would otherwise go unused. The technology is self-sustaining because the sun shines on the panels, producing electricity that is used to provide lighting and cooling for the building. CMHA will save several million dollars over the life of the solar panels.

 

View CMHA's live solar power usage

CMHA's solar power usage

 

Green Team

CMHA’s Green Team Initiative recruits public housing residents and instills through training, education, and hands-on activities, the skills and structure required to plant, cultivate, and harvest organic, sustainable fruits and vegetables in urban farms in their own neighborhoods. Through this innovative program, residents have learned essential life skills like healthy eating habits, marketable technical knowledge of green practices, and a comprehensive understanding of sustainable living. Residents have used the abilities cultivated through training experiences and skill-building exercises to procure gainful employment in the booming sustainability sector, ensuring a solid foundation for success and charting a course for a brighter tomorrow.

 

ECOS Team

As a further commitment to sustainability and conservation, CMHA sponsored and challenged a group of its employees to embark on an eight-month peer-learning program with the renowned local community group, E4S (Entrepreneurs for Sustainability). The goal of the program was to assist the agency in creating a sustainability mission statement and a strategic plan with measurable goals. At the conclusion of the program, the mission statement and plan were developed and presented. As a part of this process, CMHA formed a diverse team of internal enthusiasts from various areas of the organization to develop initiatives, programs, and goals in sustainability. The newly formed team is known as the ECOS Team (Engage, Commit, Organize, and Sustain); the eleven employees on the ECOS Team are leading the way in seeking out innovative and sustainable initiatives, ways for everyone to get involved, educational opportunities, and statistical reporting avenues. Committees within the ECOS Team were formed to develop more community partnerships as well as find ways to address five critical sustainability areas: Recycling and Food Waste, Waste Reduction, Local Food, Energy Efficiency, and Outreach.

 

Recycling

Mixed Paper Recycling (Pounds of Paper)

CMHA Mixed Paper Recycling Graph

 

CMHA initiated a mixed paper recycling pilot at six of its administrative offices in March of 2008.  In May, we rolled it out to all of our administrative offices and in our High Rise buildings and at our family-unit offices.  Around the same time, we introduced paper recycling to our residents.  To the right, look for a picture of one of our Euclid Beach residents “pitching-in”.

 

Since the inception of our paper recycling initiative, we have recycled over 210 tons of paper. Note, the dramatic spike in May and June 2011 is due to a paper purge as we moved our administrative offices to a newly constructed L.E.E.D Silver building.

 

The ideals of conservation have been put forth to our employees and residents.  We see these ideals taking hold as we hear them walk the talk of conservation; recycle, reuse, rethink, reduce, and respect.  Further, these ideals resonate loudly with all of our stakeholders.

 

In the end, it is all about the winning of hearts and minds.

 

Energy Performance Contract

CMHA was selected as a finalist for the Crain's Cleveland Business Emerald Award for our implementation of dramatic sustainability changes that reduce costs and preserve the earth's resources. On September 22nd, we were honored at the awards ceremony as a community leader in sustainability when Crain’s Cleveland Business Magazine presented the Authority with an award for our Energy Performance Contract and our subsequent sustainability efforts.

 

In the fall of 2006, the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) began construction on a $33.6 million Energy Performance Contract which is the largest of this type in the history of public housing.  It is estimated that CMHA will save at least $3.8 million annually in utility costs.

 

New energy efficient lighting, furnaces and hot water heaters, and water conserving devices such as 1.6gpf pressure assisted toilets, low-flow showerheads, and faucet aerators were installed in nearly 7,000 residential housing units and in building common areas.

 

In addition to these improvements most of our freestanding homes have been fitted with new energy efficient windows and blinds.  Weatherization and insulation completed the energy "envelope" to keep the unwanted climate out and to keep the heated or cooled air in, depending on the season.

 

Some of our High Rise buildings have received new windows, blinds, and roof replacements.  At one of our low-rise family clusters, we have completed installation of green roof technology.  We are very excited about this, and you can learn more about this energy efficient and environmentally friendly technology in the "EPC Green Roofs" link on this site.

 

Six of our High Rise buildings have received new central heating boilers which are rated 96% efficient and just a fraction of the size of the older boilers.  At all of our public housing High Rise buildings, we have installed building automation systems which can remotely monitor and control building climate. 

 

We completed the construction phase of the EPC in December 2007. Now, our efforts will focus on the review and audit of utility costs to verify and maximize the projected savings.