Sustainability as a Core Value

Posted Jul 2, 2020

INHS is a proud member of the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI), an award-winning climate action and clean energy coalition comprised of community leaders from the education, business, local government, nonprofit, and youth sectors.

Below you’ll find a list of INHS’ sustainability efforts that were shared in TCCPI’s 2019 Annual Report. Sustainability is one of our core values and supports INHS’ mission to provide safe and quality housing for our community. INHS strives to implement our values in our daily operations as well as in all of our projects and housing developments. We are focused on formalizing sustainable best practices even further. Stay tuned!

Green Housing Development: INHS is a national leader in the development of green affordable housing. Over the past five years, INHS completed the construction of over 150 new rental and homeowner housing units that incorporate cutting edge green technology. In Tompkins County the 63-unit 210 Hancock Apartments, which is certified by Enterprise Green Communities and is one the few LEED (Gold) and Energy Star certified apartment buildings in New York state, features solar panels, air source heat pumps, Energy Star appliances, and water conserving landscape design. The apartment complex also hosts an EV charging station, an Ithaca CarShare spot with discounted membership to tenants, and a multi-use trail, the result of repurposing an underused one block side street. Stone Quarry Apartments, another outstanding multi-unit building INHS added to its portfolio, is LEED and Energy Star certified.

Village Grove Apartments: In 2019, under the first round of the Buildings of Excellence Competition, INHS was awarded a $932,280 prize for its extremely energy-efficient, affordable housing development in the Village of Trumansburg, Village Grove Apartments. The proposed project consists of a forty-unit multifamily rental building and is expected to be INHS’ greenest project to date. The building will achieve NetZero standing through the use of ground source heat pumps, Passive House certification, and the purchase of off-site community solar.

Energy Efficient Rental Housing: Over the past 3 years INHS has undertaken a massive, $20 million energy efficiency upgrade of its scattered site rental portfolio. Insulation, air sealing, high efficiency lighting, Energy Star appliance upgrades, reduced water consumption, and heat pumps 18 are the primary tools used to retrofit these 100+ year-old buildings. The INHS program has been cited as a model for other rental property programs throughout New York. All of INHS’ newly built multi-family buildings have at least one national green building designation. For instance, Breckenridge Place Apartments has been certified as LEED Platinum, as has Stone Quarry Apartments.

Permanently Affordable “Green” Housing: In 2010, INHS launched its Community Housing Trust program, which guarantees that the homes that its sells to buyers with modest incomes remain permanently affordable to future homebuyers. The Community Housing Trust produces high quality, energy efficient homes that are sold at below-market prices. Deed restrictions ensure that the valuable public subsidies that enhance affordability are utilized to their maximum benefit and that these homes remain community assets. Houses developed by INHS incorporate new construction methods and are being monitored for long-term energy performance. All of these homes are built to the highest efficiency standards, and many of them have been awarded LEED Gold certifications. For instance, Holly Creek Townhomes subdivision in the Town of Ithaca was awarded a Department of Energy Challenge Innovation Award for affordable housing, and all of the townhomes at 210 Hancock are LEED Gold certified.

House Recycling and Rehab: Over 40 years ago INHS began “recycling” houses in downtown Ithaca, acquiring the worst houses in the City, rehabbing them, and either selling them to those of modest means or renting them as high quality affordable units. Additionally, through leveraging grants, low interests loans, NYSERDA matching funds, and numerous other means, INHS Construction Services Department has performed thousands of energy retrofits for existing owner occupied homes in Tompkins County.

Green Organization Certification: INHS has been certified by the national non-profit NeighborWorks America as a NeighborWorks Green Organization. This designation certifies that INHS complies with green standards across all aspects of its operations, including everything from the purchase of office supplies to pesticide free lawn care. The NeighborWorks network consists of 240 non-profit housing organizations that work in all 50 states. To date, only a handful have achieved the NeighborWorks Green Organization status.

Non-Profit Leadership: Under Executive Director Johanna Anderson INHS staff has been active at the national, state, and local levels in the creation of new tools and new programs to promote green, energy-efficient housing.

More to Come: Over the next three years, INHS has an ambitious pipeline of over 300 new or renovated housing units, nearly all of which will be LEED certified. INHS is committed to smart growth principles so its new housing is built in places with full municipal services; easy access to public transportation; and close to shopping, recreation, and jobs.

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