Going Green Sustainability Project
In 2009, REACH began a transformational program aimed at incorporating green practices into our administrative, purchasing, and office procedures. Through a generous grant from the Neighborhood Builders Award of Bank of America, we began implementation of the REACH Going Green Sustainability Project, designed to transform our overall organizational culture and day-to-day operational practices. REACH believes strongly that livability and sustainability are closely aligned. By incorporating renewable, energy-efficient practices into our current and future affordable housing developments, and throughout our organizational practices, REACH is promoting greater environmental and social health for our community and the planet.
For several years in a row, REACH has ranked among the Top 100 Best Green Companies to Work For by OregonBusiness magazine.
In 2012, REACH was designated a member of NeighborWorks America® ‘Green’ Program for our comprehensive commitment to sustainable operations. The designation is based on adherence to a set of green business practices across REACH’s affordable housing portfolio and business operations. Read our ‘Partner Profile’ here. View our press release here.
We identified three areas in which we wanted to achieve results:
1. Develop and implement internal, organizational “green” sustainability plan. To date, we have:
- Significantly reduced our paper usage and have received a Recycle at Work certification from the City of Portland;
- Implemented a Zip Car policy and alternative commuter program;
- Reduced our energy usage costs by installing motion sensors and energy-efficient CFC bulbs, and
- Received the Sustainability at Work Gold Certification in partnership with the Portland Bureau of Sustainability.
2. Create and deliver more sustainable practices in our Resident Programs. To date, we have:
- Implemented Healthy Homes classes in several buildings, teaching residents about green cleaning products.
- Made our entire housing portfolio smoke free.
- Delivered “goodie bags” to residents returning home at the Admiral Apartments and Walnut Park Apartments, after both buildings underwent substantial renovations. Bags contained green cleaning products, recommendations for green cleaning products, recycling tips, and proper usage of our buildings’ various conservation features.
- Installed new garden boxes and spaces at some REACH properties to encourage gardening opportunities and growing healthy food.
3. Complete energy audits in our housing portfolio, assessing our buildings’ current energy usage patterns and determine appropriate retrofits to achieve energy savings. To date, we have:
- Completed seven energy audits on our existing portfolio, and partnered with the Energy Trust of Oregon to install energy efficient light bulbs and low-flow showerheads and aerators in 20 of our large apartment buildings.
- All REACH mutli-family buildings are now monitored with EnergyScoreCards, an energy management tool which tracks consumption. We’ve already seen significant savings in 18 of our multi-family buildings.
- Thanks to grants from NeighborWorks America, Enterprise Community Partners and the U S Dept of Housing & Urban Development, we’ve made energy retrofits on ten buildings in our portfolio and have reduced our overall carbon emissions.
- Replaced all clothes washers with high efficiency models.
- Completed construction on our largest project in our history, Gray’s Landing located in the South Waterfront. The new six story, 209 unit building has achieved LEED Platinum (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) status, an internationally recognized green building certification. Gray’s Landing also contains the largest eco-roof in the Portland metropolitan region. Read more.