Asset Management's Sustainability Team Expands

Furthering Eden’s commitment to green building and creating healthy living spaces for residents, our Sustainability team has expanded! The team is part of the Asset Management department, and is led by Tom White, Associate Director of Building Performance and Sustainability. Prior to coming to Eden in March 2017, Tom was Executive Director of the Berkeley-based nonprofit Energy Auditor and Retrofitter, Inc. He was also the publisher of Home Energy magazine, the national trade journal for residential energy efficiency, HVAC and green building professionals.

Vicente Gonzalez, Sustainable Housing Intern, joined the team in July 2019 to use his knowledge of sustainability and data management to help the planet and people. Vicente is a Junior at UC Berkeley majoring in Conservation and Resource Studies with a minor in Sustainability.

Ruthie Levin joined the team in November 2019 as Capital Planning Analyst. Ruthie previously worked in the Civil Engineering and Land Surveying industry and has a background in business operations and facilities management. She is passionate about helping fine-tune processes, driving the development of Energy Efficiency and Sustainability at Eden.

Together, the Sustainability team is focused on reducing Eden’s energy, water and rubbish removal costs while collaborating across departments on sustainability goals, as well as developing sources of renewable energy. The team is benchmarking irrigation and whole building energy and water use per square footage in order to compare usage across the portfolio. Benchmarking helps the team to identify best practices from low-usage properties and prioritize retrofits for high-usage properties.

Recently, while analyzing daily water reports for a few of Eden’s properties, Vicente noticed that one community could save upwards of 40% on their irrigation budget by changing the watering schedule for their weather-based irrigation controller.

One way to promote greater sustainability is through education. Several of Eden’s communities have implemented resident education programming on how they can reduce waste and, in turn, save money on utility bills. Partnering with Alameda County Waste Management Authority’s “StopWaste” initiative, residents at the Altenheim attended a presentation by Laura McKaughan on ways they can comply with the County’s mandatory food scrap recycling ordinance. With the assistance of the “StopWaste” initiative, and Resident Services After School Program staff and students, Tom coordinated a door-to-door campaign to educate and provide free kitchen scrap pails to residents at Walker Landing in Hayward.

Ruthie is working closely with Property Operations and Facilities to procure and analyze Property Needs Assessments (PNAs). PNAs help Asset Managers and Property Supervisors budget replacement reserves for the foreseeable future in their 5-year Capital Plans. Ruthie uses PNAs to inventory major equipment and identify the recurring preventative maintenance that is required to keep the equipment and other building assets performing efficiently.

Working as a team with property operations and facilities staff is critical to achieving low life cycle costs and high performing buildings. With expanded capacity, the Sustainability team is working with Development on design guidelines to set goals for energy and water use going forward.

Stay tuned for more great work from our Sustainability team. It takes all of us to build efficient buildings, manage and maintain building systems and educate our residents.

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