Green building practices have always been central to the Self-Help Enterprises model. The organization’s commitment to building responsibly and fostering a sustainable future is put into action through the well-constructed, energy-efficient homes and rental communities.
Self-Help Enterprises’ green housing features include:
- Low VOC paints and adhesives to promote healthy indoor air quality
- Energy Star appliances
- Radiant barrier roof sheathing and attic ventilation to moderate attic temperatures
- Solar energy
- Cool roof tiles
- Energy efficient windows
- High energy exhaust fans
- Low-water landscaping plans and plant selections
- Fire suppression sprinklers
- Eco-friendly playgrounds
Not only are all homes and apartment complexes built to California’s stringent CALGreen energy code (Title 24), but most of our homes exceed it. For example, Rancho Lindo Apartments in Lamont, CA 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. Goshen Village II and Viscaya Gardens also exceed Title 24, and like Rancho Lindo, include many of the same efficient upgrades that are now standard practice for Self-Help Enterprises’ multifamily rental homes.
Green techniques are also utilized in our Housing Rehabilitation program, a program that is at its core a green building model – updating and weatherizing older, dilapidated housing with new roofs, windows, appliances and other energy and cost saving upgrades. Our rehabbed homes include radiant barrier roof sheathing, Energy Star appliances, upgraded attic insulation and windows and heating/cooling systems that often exceed California’s already stringent Title 24 building codes. Homes that are fully reconstructed through our Rehab program receive the same Universal Design elements included in our single family homes as well as the fire suppression sprinklers and carbon monoxide alarms.
Not everyone realizes the impact a healthy, sustainable home has on a community. Housing brought up to Code using green standards increases school involvement, decreases gang activity, increases home values, and increases community involvement.
~ Andrea Barnier, Self-Help Enterprises Housing Rehabilitation Program Manager
While Self-Help Enterprises is fully committed to these green principles, we are mindful of the affordability needs of our participant families and ensure that the green features do not price out low-income families. Over the last several years, we have partnered with GRID Alternatives, a nonprofit organization that brings the benefits of solar technology to communities that would not otherwise have access. Together we’ve helped more than 100 of our families receive free solar systems. In one of our recent subdivisions in Goshen, CA, 38 of the first 40 homes have installed free solar systems.
Beyond these green building efforts, Self-Help Enterprises has also embraced sustainability in the office and is recognized as a NeighborWorks Green Organization. We have diverted much of the office waste from landfills by including recycling bins rather than trash cans in staff work spaces, identifying bins in the employee break room for recycling and composting materials, and reducing paper use. Bicycles are also available to staff to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase physical activity.