ARCHIVE 2010

The Greenfield Housing Authority Joins the Greenfield 10% Challenge

August 26, 2010 – “Cutting our energy use just makes economic sense,” said John Cariddi, Director of the Greenfield Housing Authority, as he signed the Authority up for the Greenfield 10% Challenge. “The more we save the less we need subsidies. We want to be a zero subsidy agency.”

Last winter the Greenfield Housing Authority (GHA) reduced its gas consumption by 35% compared to the previous winter. This accomplishment is part of a long-term ongoing effort by Cariddi, who has been director of the Authority for 30 years, and will be retiring at the end of September. Since 1990 he has systematically assessed the need for energy upgrades, and then found the funds to implement the recommendations. Over the past 15 years, the GHA has systematically added insulation in ceilings and walls, and now they are in the final stages of upgrading heating systems and replacing windows.

“It is great when people understand that it is just good business to reduce energy use,” says Becca King, co-creator of the Greenfield 10% Challenge, a program of the Greening Greenfield Energy Committee. “The agency benefits, and more importantly, the many low-income tenants will be paying lower utility bills, and keeping money in their pockets. At the same time, as world citizens, we are cutting damaging climate change emissions and being better stewards of the Earth.”

The Greenfield Housing Authority was formed in 1946 to address a need for housing.  Over the years it has developed housing for veterans, elderly, disabled, and families, and contributed to downtown revitalization. It also administers the state and federal rental assistance program for income eligible people, and runs the successful Family Self Sufficiency program that it developed.

Today the GHA owns 240 housing units in Greenfield, and offers rental subsidies to an additional 550 households. Of the units they own, Oak Courts is the star. The energy upgrades of the 72 units began in 1991 with added insulation in the ceilings and walls. In 2005 they started upgrading the windows. Then in 2009, they partnered with Community Action and received stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to replace the heating systems. This process was just completed a few weeks ago. They anticipate that tenants who pay their own heat in these units will see a significant reduction in their heating bills.

Elm Terrace’s 108 units for the elderly have also seen major energy upgrades. To start out, twelve inches of new cellulose insulation was added to the attic. Then the electric heating systems in the ceiling were moved to baseboard units near the floor, where the heat is needed most. Lighting was also upgraded from incandescent to compact fluorescent lightbulbs in the apartment units and hallways.  In the office, existing fluorescent lighting was upgraded to more efficient T-8s. Finally, water saving toilets and low flow showers were installed to both cut water usage, and to save energy needed to heat the water. Presently they are in the process of installing replacement windows to both cut drafts and also make it easier to clean the windows. This coming winter they will be able to see exactly how much energy and money they have saved with their efforts. GHA has also been working on upgrading many of the smaller buildings they own around town.

At the end of September, John Cariddi will be retiring. “We will reap the benefits of his efforts to reduce the energy use of Authority-owned buildings for many years.  This is an important legacy for us, as a community and as world citizens,” added Susan Worgaftik, co-creator of the 10% Challenge. “We are proud of what John had done, and hope that the new director will continue to seek ways to reduce energy use in the buildings the Authority owns.”

Over 750 households and 39 businesses have joined the Greenfield 10% Challenge to date. If you would like to join the Challenge and help the Greening Greenfield Energy Committee reach its goal of 800 households by the end of this year, go to Greening Greenfield’s web site at www.GreeningGreenfield.org and click on the 10% Challenge logo, or call Becca King at 773-7004. The 10% Challenge is part of the Greening Greenfield campaign, which aims to use “greening” as the inspirational and economic engine to build a sustainable Greenfield so that current and future generations can enjoy life in this beautiful abundant valley.