COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION OF MENDOCINO COUNTY
RESPONSIBLE ENERGY AWARENESS PRACTICES (REAP) PROGRAM
Name: Community Development Commission of Mendocino County
Location: Ukiah, CA
“The REAP program saves money in current time while making energy efficiency investments that will save money in the future. It is just good business.”
- Todd Crabtree, Executive Director
Community Development Commission of Mendocino County
The Community Development Commission of Mendocino County (CDC) created the Responsible Energy Awareness Practices (REAP) program in 2012. Funded by a 2011 Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) Innovator Pilot grant, REAP is the first known energy efficiency and sustainability behavioral-based program designed specifically for California Public Housing Authorities.
The goal of REAP was to provide a no or low-cost process for integrating energy efficiency practices into PHAs’ policies and operating procedures so that these practices become business as usual. By adopting energy efficiency practices, PHAs reduce energy consumption, thereby reducing their energy bills.
CDC’s Development & Sustainability Department set out to design a program that would influence behavior of PHA employees so that energy efficiency decision-making was seen as a necessity- and business as usual. Department staff developed new human resources procedures, new procurement and purchasing procedures, and an energy audit capital planning tool.
The Rest of the Story
Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) own and/or manage public housing units and administer low-income rental assistance programs for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The effects of over a decade of budget cuts and Congressional sequestration have left many PHAs with very little funding, and energy efficiency and sustainability projects are often seen as luxuries rather than necessities.
Even in the face of these budgetary challenges, REAP has proven a behavioral-based model can be effective for changing a PHA’s approach towards energy efficiency. REAP has improved staff morale while driving down energy costs.
Little changes have lead to big results. Whether it was remembering to shut off lights when leaving an office, printing to a network printer, weatherizing offices, or using the programmable thermostat functionality there was much variability in employee behavior. Through REAP, all employees contributed in small ways to being more energy efficient. Results- i.e. saving over 18% in energy consumption in six months- were impressive.
Additional Details – REAP
CDC’s REAP program offers an innovative and replicable model to assist public housing authorities in facilitating market transformation within their internal operations and in the community by embedding energy efficiency practices into their policies and procedures.
Management and administration of public housing authorities and local governments often involves overlapping operational responsibilities. With limited funding, there can be a lack of knowledge about energy efficiency and energy issues. REAP integrates energy efficiency practices with agencies’ policies and procedures, while also teaching employees to be energy champions. This is accomplished without additional loss to organizational capacity.
Through REAP, CDC created a procurement and purchasing policy for PHAs that incorporated long-term energy savings into cost analyses while still being consistent with local, state and federal rules and regulations. CDC also created an energy auditing and capital planning tool and “Energy Scorecard” to allow the Board of Commissioners and staff to track energy savings resulting from these procedural changes.
At the conclusion of REAP, 94% of CDC employees said they considered energy efficiency to be a vital part of their work at CDC.