KCHA's focus on resource conservation reduces operating costs and impacts to the environment and improves the quality of life for the residents. We work with residents and staff to save water and energy, reduce solid and hazardous waste, and purchase products made with recycled materials and fewer hazardous chemicals.
KCHA's 2011-2016 Resource Management Plan (PDF) and 2017-2021 Environmental Sustainability Plan (PDF) detail our resource conservation strategies, goals and accomplishments. You can also view annual reports that outline KCHA's success in meeting the goals of these plans:
Saving Water & Energy
KCHA installs WaterSense-rated faucets, toilets, and showerheads in all of its buildings. Our standards exceed code requirements and have helped reduce water use by more than 40 percent over standard low-flow fixtures since 2004. This has led to nearly $1 million in savings.
KCHA entered into a new Energy Performance Initiative Contract in early 2016. The project improves energy efficiency by making possible the installation of lighting, water saving fixtures, HVAC units, and thermostats. As many as 31 subsidized housing communities in 14 cities will benefit from these upgrades.
An energy performance contract is a financing technique. It takes the savings from reduced energy use to repay the cost of installing the features that allow for this reduction. This method helps KCHA promote utility efficiency, cost savings, and environmental sustainability. Our public housing residents benefit from improved lighting, comfort, and air quality.
We are working with the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services and Johnson Controls to implement this project. Other partners include the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, King County's Green Community Initiative, Puget Sound Energy, and Seattle City Light.
We also buy Energy Star-rated refrigerators, washing machines, and office equipment. Residents of nearly 30 properties also enjoy lower energy bills because of upgraded lighting. Since 2012, energy efficient projects have saved KCHA and residents over $650,000.00 per year combined.
Reducing Solid Waste
KCHA started a recycling education program for residents in 2010. Since then, staff have worked one-on-one with thousands of households to teach good recycling habits. Residents have responded by recycling more waste and sorting it with greater care, reducing property garbage volumes by as much as 50 percent. Together, these efforts save more than $60,000 in garbage costs each year.
All KCHA properties and offices now offer recycling. 3 public housing communities also have a food waste composting service. In addition, maintenance staff at 15 properties now take advantage of on-site yard waste collection. This reduces staff time spent hauling yard debris to transfer stations, and also turns materials bound for the landfill into compost.
Managing Hazardous Waste
KCHA is a CoStar partner in support of EnviroStars, an environmental certification program for businesses in Washington State. More than 50 KCHA properties have been certified at the three-star level or higher by this nationally recognized program:
- Five stars: Auburn Square in Auburn; Cascadian, Timberwood, Woodside East in Bellevue; Heritage Park in Bothell; Campus Court, Victorian Woods, and Shoreham in Des Moines; Laurelwood Gardens, Cove East in Federal Way; Cottonwood in Kent; Alpine Ridge in Kirkland; Woodland North in Lake Forest Park; Brittany Park in Normandy Park; Village at Overlake Station in Redmond; Vantage Point and Wonderland Estates in Renton; Abbey Ridge and Windsor Heights in SeaTac; Colonial Gardens in Shoreline; Pacific Court, Riverton Terrace (Family) and Riverton Terrace (Senior) in Tukwila; Greenbridge (Eastbridge, Salmon Creek, and Seola Crossing, Sixth Place), Seola Gardens, and Nia in White Center.
- Four stars: Green River Homes and Firwood Circle in Auburn; Bellepark East, Hidden Village, Landmark, The Newporter, Somerset Gardens, and Spiritwood Manor in Bellevue; Munro Manor and Yardley Arms in Burien, Birch Creek, Parkwood, Southwood Square, and Walnut Park in Kent; Patricia Harris Manor in Redmond; Ballinger Homes and Meadowbrook in Shoreline; Villages at South Station in Tukwila.
- Three stars: Auburn Square and Meadows at Lea Hill in Auburn, Boulevard Manor, Burien Park and Woodridge Park in Burien; Laurelwood Gardens in Federal Way; Nike Manor, Parkwood and Valli Kee in Kent; Juanita Court in Kirkland; Fairwood in Renton; Carriage House in SeaTac; Briarwood in Shoreline; Aspen Ridge in Skyway.
Involving the Community
KCHA's employee-led Green Team helps raise staff awareness of good environmental practices. The committee sponsors activities such as local food potlucks, Earth Day clean-ups, efficient driving campaigns, and waste reduction initiatives. These efforts benefit staff both on the job and at home.
In 2017, KCHA won the King County Green Globe Award, which recognizes organizations for outstanding achievement in environmental stewardship. KCHA also earned a leadership award from the Better Buildings Challenge sponsored by HUD and the U.S. Department of Energy.
In 2014, KCHA staff were honored by King County for participating in the EnviroStars program.
In 2010, KCHA was honored by the Washington State Recycling Association (WSRA) with the Recycler of the Year Award for construction waste recycling at Birch Creek.