April 2, 2020

Covid-19: An Update from Enterprise Green Communities

For years, we’ve closed our emails from Green Communities with “We applaud your commitment to green affordable housing.” With detected coronavirus infections now in the millions globally, and job losses soaring across the country, we can’t emphasize that gratitude and appreciation enough. 

Green Communities has meant healthy, efficient, environmentally sustainable affordable housing. It’s even more important today. We’re all seeing the growing need for a safe and affordable place to call home. The communities that we serve are already systemically disadvantaged, and the Coronavirus pandemic doesn’t leave much chance for a safety net. 

At Enterprise, we’re continually updating information about our Covid-19 response. Our federal and state/local policy teams are active every day, we’re talking with nonprofit affordable housing owner partners to understand their needs and the needs of their residents, we’re mobilizing responses on the ground in each of our markets, and we’ve changed the way that we’re working day to day. 

On April 23, we’ll be unveiling Green Communities certification resources for our 2020 Criteria. We have a lot to share, and have been excitedly working toward this time since we released the Criteria itself in January. 

Of course, a great deal has changed since then. Municipalities and states are considering and imposing construction moratoriums or delays, owners and employees of nonessential businesses are suffering, and social distancing makes the work that we all do in designing, building, and operating housing more challenging. 

We’re moving ahead with the 2020 Criteria and certification tools as originally planned while we’re also reconvening our 2020 Criteria Working Groups to advise on potential modifications to the program in light of social distancing guidelines and safe work practices. We’re also rolling out a series of virtual training events in the weeks and months to come, and hope to see you online. 

For those of you currently certifying projects to our 2015 Criteria, we urge you to heed public health guidelines. And, we urge you to restrict field inspections to the extent possible. Verification of energy efficiency measures, central to Green Communities, can often not occur without physical presence and contact. We have to balance these needs carefully, and, we’ll be incorporating upcoming guidance from EPA related to changing ENERGY STAR field inspections and advise you to review and follow RESNET’s Alternatives to HERS Ratings Field Inspections and Testing in the interim. 

We want to know how the Coronavirus and Covid-19 are impacting you. Please reach out and tell us your story, share what you need from Green Communities now and in the months to come, and let us know how you’re doing. If there’s something we can do to help you stay on track, let us know. Reach out to certification@enterprisecommunity.org with Covid-19 in the subject line so that we can prioritize these conversations. 

When we build more resilient communities, we build a better future for everyone. 

And as always we applaud your commitment to green affordable housing. 

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