Green PASS program supports Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation’s Green Pivot


SAN FRANCISCO - April 22, 2014 - In 2012, Enterprise launched the Green Portfolio, Analysis, Sustainability & Support program, Green PASS, in Northern California to work closely with affordable housing owners to holistically green their operations and assets. The program provides evaluation, recapitalization and retrofitting of older housing stock and conducts trainings on green organizational business practices. Green PASS goes in depth with member organizations to systemically change their approach and procedures in developing, rehabilitating and managing their housing stock.

Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC) was one of five affordable housing providers to join the Green PASS inaugural class. The San Francisco-based nonprofit has served the most vulnerable populations in the Tenderloin neighborhood for more than 30 years. Its portfolio of 32 buildings provides homes to 3,200 low- and extremely low-income residents.

“Earlier successes by TNDC were important, such as the development of a number of green buildings, though without a more comprehensive approach by the organization as a whole, these efforts were somewhat disjointed,” explains Liz Orlin, TNDC chief operating officer. “Green PASS helped create a vision of what it meant for the organization to be green and tied this vision to TNDC’s mission.”

As part of the program, TNDC signed onto Enterprise’s Green Call to Action to green all affordable housing by 2020 as well as the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Better Building Challenge, a commitment to reduce energy usage by 20 percent portfolio wide by 2020.

Fortunately, TNDC has had a number of green champions, and leadership has taken a clear position on a green vision. TNDC has adopted concentrated and eco-friendly cleaning products across their portfolio operations, with initial results indicating cost savings as well as improved health and well being of staff and residents. The organization is also employing portfolio-wide utility benchmarking to better target their underperforming properties for intervention.

Among the other strategies employed to reach green goals is hiring a sustainability manager, creating a cross departmental green committee, increasing the environmental aptitude of their staff as well as improving standard operating procedures. TNDC has already created a cross department committee with subgroups focused on operations, office, design and utilities.

While TNDC has made significant strides there are still considerable challenges. The perception that green is always costly and only benefits the environment slows the adoption of new green practices across the organization. Engaging staff and residents has proven challenging as the benefits of certain green measures are not as evident or direct, and getting people to change their behavior is difficult. Additionally, staff and resident leaders that lead TNDC’s green efforts are subject to turnover – maintaining green practices and momentum once these leaders are no longer present has proven challenging.

Green PASS is working with TNDC to address these obstacles and build a foundation where green does not fall on one or a set of individuals but instead is common practice within their culture. With Enterprise support and other green resources, TNDC is adopting new systems and revising standard practices to create a comprehensive and sustained green strategy. Supported by Green PASS, TNDC has found a green vision to strive for and Enterprise has found an effective way to work with TNDC and other organizations to achieve their sustainability goals.

”The greening movement has pretty wide appeal, and the messages around it are important to get people on board,” Orlin noted. “There are people who care about the environment. There are people who care about savings. There are people who care about the health of their staff and residents.”

 

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