Self-Help Enterprises, based in Visalia, has been recognized as a NeighborWorks Green Organization for its comprehensive commitment to sustainable operations. To achieve this designation, Self-Help Enterprises was required to demonstrate adherence to a set of green business practices across its operations and all of its program areas.
This is the third consecutive year that NeighborWorks America has recognized member organizations for their efforts to create healthier, energy-efficient environments for homeowners, renters, community residents and employees. To date, 61 NeighborWorks organizations have achieved this designation.
Self-Help Enterprises, which works together with low-income families to build and sustain healthy homes and communities, is committed to green practices – both in the field and in the office. Self-Help Enterprises constructs self-help homes of modest size that reduce land use, builds eco-friendly playgrounds, and integrates Energy Star appliances and solar panels across homes and apartment complexes. In the office, Self-Help Enterprises has diverted much of its waste from landfills by including recycling bins rather than trash cans in staff work spaces, identifying recycling and composting bins in the employee break room, and changing printer settings to default to double-sided printing. The organization also makes bicycles available to staff to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote physical activity.
“We are honored to be named a NeighborWorks Green Organization for our commitment to sustainable building practices and our green office culture”, said Tom Collishaw, CEO of Self-Help Enterprises. “The green strategies we have adopted save families money, improve health outcomes and reduce our environmental impact.”
NeighborWorks America, which creates opportunities for people to live in affordable homes, improve their lives and strengthen their communities, supports a network of more than 240 nonprofits in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
“Self-Help Enterprises is helping individuals and families become healthier with an improved quality of life,” said NeighborWorks America Acting CEO Chuck Wehrwein.
The NeighborWorks Green Organization designation is significant because it challenges organizations to be comprehensive in their efforts to be green. Through the organizations’ participation in this program, 4,200 employees are experiencing a healthier, greener working environment. Last year, the organizations educated more than 9,500 households on the core elements of healthy and sustainable homes.
The green ethos is integrated into every aspect of Self-Help Enterprises’ development. Not only are all homes and apartment complexes built to California’s stringent CALGreen energy code (Title 24), but most of the homes exceed it. For example, Rancho Lindo Apartments in Lamont is Build It Green certified, exceeds Title 24 by 37%, and includes large solar energy systems, reflective cool roofs, low-water landscaping, tankless water heaters and many other energy upgrades. The Goshen Village II rental community and recently completed Viscaya Gardens rental community in Dinuba also exceed Title 24, and like Rancho Lindo, are Build It Green certified and include many of the same efficient upgrades that are now standard practice for Self-Help Enterprises’ multifamily rental homes.