Energy Star Program
LMHA's premier "green" site is Liberty Green, a HOPE VI Revitalization project on the former Clarksdale site in downtown Louisville. While the site's new name was drawn from the current and original names of the central roadway that runs through the six-block area (Liberty Street and Green Street) - the name also aptly describes the community's cutting edge environmental standards. Every rental and homeownership unit at Liberty Green is constructed per Energy Star efficiency guidelines and equipped with Energy Star labeled appliances. Units at Liberty Green have been verified as 40% more efficient than homes built to the 1993 National Model Energy Code. This has resulted in significant utility cost savings to residents of Liberty Green.
Liberty Green is the first mixed-income development in Kentucky to receive the EPA Energy Star National Award in Excellence in Affordable Housing (2007). The site was also the winner of Energy Star Regional Awards in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Our efforts at Liberty Green have virtually institutionalized the Energy Star program
into the Authority's new development operations. LMHA staff, along with HUD and our architectural consultants and developers, have refined the protocol necessary to design, construct, monitor and obtain the Energy Star rating so it can be easily utilized at future projects. In addition to the Liberty Green HOPE VI site, LMHA is phasing in Energy Star rated refrigerators, air conditioning (AC) units and compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) at the nearly 4,300 public housing units it owns and manages. For more information about incorporating Energy Star components into multi-family assisted housing projects contact LaTasha Kilgore.
LMHA Agency-Wide Greening Initiative
While the Housing Authority has maintained a long standing commitment to energy efficiency, our efforts went to the next level when Louisville was chosen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in November 2007 as one of five US cities to become a model partner of its Energy Star program. Former Mayor Jerry Abramson accepted the EPA's Energy Star Challenge and rolled out his Go Green Louisville! Campaign. LMHA quickly jumped on board for this initiative to adopt sustainable practices, including the goal to reduce energy use in city by 10% or more by the year 2010. Our previous success with the Energy Star program at Liberty Green also served as a catalyst to establish an agency-wide energy efficiency program.
To develop and begin implementing specific greening strategies, LMHA formed a Green Committee comprised of LMHA Board members, former Executive Director Tim Barry, and other staff members, as well as our planning and communications consultants. After several months of research and discussions, LMHA's Board approved our greening goals (see box below) and a comprehensive action plan of short and long-term initiatives. The Authority also recently completed energy audits for its public housing inventory and became an official Energy Star Partner. Results from audits and the Action plan will help drive plans for future capital projects.
Greening Initiative Goals
LMHA intends to champion the environmental and health benefits of our greening efforts and become a leader in the nation among affordable housing providers through the following broad goals:
Residents Recycle and Compost at Avenue Plaza
Through a joint effort with Louisville Metro's PW&A - Solid Waste Management Services Division, LMHA launched a recycling pilot program in 2009 for residents of Avenue Plaza. Co-mingled mainstream recyclables were collected weekly and residents competed in monthly "Tally Rallies" for the floor that collected the most recyclables. Resident floor monitors were also enlisted to help with these efforts.
Due to its resounding success (over 10 tons of recyclables were collected during a six-month period), the program will continue on an on-going basis at Avenue Plaza. The Authority also has plans underway to expand the recycling program to other sites.
The Residents Recycle pilot and promotional materials were funded through a grant from the Kentucky Division of Waste Management. To request copies of fliers, posters, door hangers, magnets and other promotional and educational materials contact LaTasha Kilgore.
Robert Kennedy, Jr. visits Liberty Green
Environmental activist Robert Kennedy, Jr. joined Secretary Jonathan Miller from the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet, and members of the Kentucky Clean Energy Corps. for a press conference at the award-winning Liberty Green HOPE VI site. Kennedy applauded LMHA, along with Louisville leaders and community members, for our efforts to green the city in a way that saves dollars, creates green collar jobs and protects our environment.
LEED Certification for the Liberty Green Community Center
Located at the corner of Jefferson and Jackson streets, the newly completed Liberty Green Community Center is projected to be LMHA's first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building and the first LEED-certified public housing facility in Kentucky. Funded in part by the Clarksdale HOPE VI Revitalization grant, the Romanesque-style two-floor facility has a total of 13,400 square feet and houses eight one-bedroom public housing apartments (two are accessible) in addition to offices, community meeting/training rooms, classrooms, and a commercial kitchen. The total construction cost for the center was just over $3 million. Key "green" features of the building include:
- Exterior wall insulating concrete forms (ICFs);
- Geothermal heating and cooling;
- Pervious brick pavers in the parking lots (to limit storm water run-off);
- Energy Star appliances;
- No-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint;
- Energy Efficient windows; and
- Compact fluorescent lighting (CFLs) and motion detectors throughout.
LMHA has applied for a LEED rating for the Center. Notification of the rating level, which will be forthcoming within the year, will likely be the "Gold" category. The Liberty Green Community Center is featured on the Kentucky U.S. Green Building Council's webpage (www.usgbckentucky.org).
As a result of a generous grant from the Metropolitan Sewer District, YouthBuild Louisville installed a rain garden at the renovated St. Peter Claver Chapel, the community center for Sheppard Square residents. The rain garden uses native Kentucky perennial plantings that absorb rainwater from the building's roof and walkways.
The Authority is looking at installing rain gardens at other sites and is currently testing pervious pavers as another rainwater management technique at Liberty Green. Pervious brick pavers were recently installed on Clay Street to allow water to filtrate through the surface to underlying soils.