LOS ANGELES (September 30, 2022) The recent extreme heat and ongoing severe drought are just two of the most current examples of growing climate change impacts that take a toll on all of us, in particular those in our low income and/or historically underserved communities. The increasing need for education, resources, and inclusion in programs that reduce energy and water use are key pieces in reducing long-term costs and improving long-term occupant health. To this end, the U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles (USGBC-LA) has created the ‘Green Homes LA’ initiative to green housing across several of its programs, bringing both education and resources to buildings and tenants in need of improved operations and occupant health, as well as working with community partners and thought leaders to determine next steps in guiding residents on continuing their sustainability journey.
“The vision of our programmatic work in this space is to reduce costs and improve health, addressing long-term housing affordability for our local communities,” states USGBC-LA Executive Director Ben Stapleton. “If we can leverage funding from federal, state, and philanthropic resources to make investments at this critical moment, we can make our communities more resilient to withstand the increasing impacts of climate change.”
The Green Homes LA initiative serves as the umbrella to the organization’s key housing programs, including the Green Affordable Housing Program (GAHP), launched in early 2022 and focused on Los Angeles City Council Districts (CD) 2, 6 and 7; the newest part of GAHP, focused on CD5; and our Green Homes Committee.
The GAHP was developed in partnership with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), Clean California TECH, and California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal EPA), to support healthy, efficient, and resilient places to live, work, and play for all Angelenos. The aptly named GAHP fills a current gap in market support while working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in multi-family properties located in low-income communities by providing sustainable resources that include tenant education, property owner and manager project and rebate support (including a new pathways menu), low-to-no-cost installation of heat pump space and water heating technology, low-to-no-cost installation of community EV charging station, free indoor and outdoor air and water quality monitoring, and funding to undertake innovative green building technology pilots to further investigate reducing building utility costs.
GAHP has already enrolled 12 buildings, with the first tenant education scheduled for October 2022. This first cohort of buildings for 2022 (with a second cohort in 2023) expects to positively impact at least 1,500 residents in that area. USGBC-LA is actively seeking to enroll more buildings in CDs 2, 6 and 7. (Click here for information and to apply.)
This program is centered on the Eastern San Fernando Valley because it exemplifies a frontline community, an area that is home to a great deal of industrial activity and disproportionately feels the impacts of climate change – high heat days, poor air quality (exasperated by many of the wildfires) – but lacks resources to adapt.
“LADWP is excited to collaborate with the U.S. Green Building Council – Los Angeles on their Green Homes LA initiative,” said Nancy Sutley, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Senior Assistant General Manager of External and Regulatory Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer. “Through LADWP’s Community Emission Reduction Grant, we’re committed to supporting USBGC-LA as they continue to provide some of our most under-served communities with access to programs and resources that will make a real difference in their lives, and enable them to take part in, and benefit from a greener, more sustainable LA.”
As a new part of the Green Homes LA initiative, USGBC-LA has received a LADWP Community Outreach Grant to provide sustainability education and resources to support behaviors that reduce energy use, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve occupant health; and pro-bono benchmarking support through the Energy Star Portfolio Manager (ESPM) platform (no products) for multi-family buildings in CD5. For more information and to apply, contact email@example.com.
To better engage USGBC-LA’s community of experts and support feedback on Green Homes LA programming, they launched the Green Homes Committee in Spring 2022. The members meet monthly to exchange ideas (around policy, processes, materials, certifications and more) and take actions that will encourage healthy, sustainable, affordable, and regenerative practices in home building and living. The committee aims to address the inequities of access to information, resources, and technology that can help people green their homes by providing education, training, and outreach. The committee also hosts green home tours, single- and multi-family, as part of this educational experience (next tour Oct. 12).
Other programs that are actively building out USGBC-LA’s action plan to address improving access to education, resources and impact around green homes for all:
- Single-Family Thought Leadership Event (Oct. 20) with Multi-Family event in 2023. This first deep dive into greening where we live and engaging the tenant population will discuss best practices, materials, affordability, and how to create long-term value for a property. From record drought to an increasing number of high heat days and wildfire risk, expert designers, builders, realtors, and more will discuss how LA can lead in building the green homes of the future.
- Local Building Carbon Emissions Tracking Tool: USGBC-LA is providing address-level Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory estimates, by partnering with the Dynamhex Platform as part of the Green Affordable Housing Program (GAHP). Dynamhex is a community-centric, digital platform for climate action that provides insights into carbon reduction methods all in a single sleek map interface. This tool has the capability of analyzing multifamily housing buildings across 19 zip codes in the Eastern San Fernando Valley and will help reduce greenhouse gasses by empowering citizens, businesses, utilities, and governments.
- Pathways Menu for Building Owners & Managers: The Menu of Efficiency and Electrification outlines 3 project pathways owners can take to improve the performance, comfort, and affordability of their multifamily properties. USGBC-LA has also put an emphasis on providing resources for building owners located in disadvantaged communities and low-income neighborhoods that may require additional financial support to complete these projects.
- Personal Emissions and Savings Calculator: USGBC-LA has partnered with YellowTin to help take the guesswork out of decarbonizing your home and lifestyle. Any tenant or owner can enter their home address, create reports, and plans to save energy, water, and reduce emissions.
“Low-income and economically vulnerable residents across Los Angeles disproportionately suffer the consequences of inaction on climate change, so the Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing (SCANPH) applauds the launch of the ‘Green Homes LA’ initiative and its various programs to advance more green housing and additional resources so that we can ensure residents – particularly those in affordable housing – can benefit from improved health outcomes and building efficiencies,” said Alan Greenlee, Executive Director, SCANPH. “Nonprofit affordable housing developers are eager for more collaborative community leadership as we collectively strive to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and the Green Homes LA initiative is a robust package of concrete steps to further advance solutions and improve occupant health.”
Program partners include the Association for Energy Affordability, Bloc Power, ChargePoint Green EconoME, Green Wealth, and Raimi + Associates.
To learn more about the Green Affordable Housing Program, including to apply as a building, please click here, or contact Will Norten, firstname.lastname@example.org. To contribute to these programs in any way, or to inquire about providing any other funding support, please email email@example.com.
About U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles
Founded in 2002, USGBC-LA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization committed to creating a prosperous and sustainable future within one generation. Our mission is to accelerate all aspects of sustainability in the built environment by delivering access to knowledge, resources, recognition and networking. Learn, Share and Lead Green. (www.usgbc-la.org)
Julie Du Brow, 310-922-1301