by Cheryl Treadwell

Today’s guest post is written by Cheryl Treadwell.  Cheryl is a member of the Construction and Labor and Employment sections of Chamberlain Hrdlicka’s Atlanta office.

Green building initiatives are typically associated with large corporations, governmental entities, and expensive, custom-built homes because these are typically the projects that receive the most publicity and attention.  However, I wanted to highlight a unique green building initiative that is being used by a local non-profit group to improve the homes and lives of economically-disadvantaged families.

The Green and Healthy Homes Initiative (“GHHI”) is part of a national movement to create green, healthy and sustainable homes in low-income areas.  The Center for Working Families, Inc.  (“TCWFI”) is a non-profit organization that is leading the charge in Atlanta.  Through public-private partnerships, TCWFI is updating older homes in Atlanta neighborhoods near Turner Field by providing weatherization, energy-efficiency, lead hazard reduction, and other measures.

By addressing asthma triggers, allergens, lead poisoning and other unsafe conditions in housing, TCWFI is working to reduce the prevalence of certain illnesses, medical costs, and absences from school and work.   TCWFI will also provide training and green jobs for residents.  This investment in residential areas will obviously result in energy conservation and reduced energy costs, which is usually the focus of most green initiatives.  However, TCWFI is also taking a community based approach by considering the long-term economic and social advantages of “Going Green.”   Job training, economic stimulus, health benefits, and higher property values are just some of the benefits resulting from this partnership.

What I really like about this program is that it is a reminder that the fundamental principles of green building are really based upon improving the quality of our environment, through the enhanced performance and efficiency of the buildings in which we live and work.  Beyond the LEED certifications and Energy Star ratings, there are people whose lives are better because of this program.

To learn more about TCWFI and GHHI or volunteer, visit http://www.tcwfi.org.  This is a very interesting program that I think will continue to gain traction in Atlanta as well as in other cities.