Elaina’s Sustainability Fund grant recipients


Learn about the initiatives from our 2021 Elaina’s Sustainability Fund grant recipients

The purpose of Elaina’s Sustainability Fund is to encourage innovation or adoption of sustainability and occupant wellness initiatives that impact the buildings where we live, work, shop, and play. Our 2021 recipients are doing work around the globe to make their communities, homes, and businesses more sustainable, and foster happy and healthy living. Read about the projects our recipients are going to use their funds for below.

2021 recipients

Research: Case Studies in the Implementation of IREM’s Certified Sustainable Property Program

Erin A. Hopkins, PhD, Assistant Professor of Property Management at Virginia Tech University will conduct research and develop case studies around best practices when implementing the IREM® Certified Sustainable Property (CSP) certification. Focusing on multifamily properties that have earned the CSP from around the U.S., the final report aims to provide real estate practitioners and policymakers with a better understanding of IREM’s CSP program and serve as the starting point for more in-depth research down the road linking best practices in the implementation of the CSP certification to existing green building theory.

Innovate: Wastezon Smart Bin

Based in Rwanda, Wastezon is a cleantech startup that is on a mission to building waste-free communities. It’s estimated that more than 90% of waste from African residential estates is disposed of in unregulated dumps or openly burned, threatening human health and the environment. Although organic-dominated waste generates compost, more than 5 million farmers can’t access compost or fertilizer which leads to poor farming and harvesting. Wastezon has created the Wastezon Smart Bin, backed by IoT technology. The Smart Bin offers automated sorting, tracks waste decomposition, sterilizes odor, and provides real-time information to enable effective waste collection services. One household utilizing a Smart Bin can provide 20kg of bio-fertilizers to a farmer monthly. With funding from Elaina’s Sustainability Fund, Wastezon can produce 30 smart bins, creating jobs and supporting farmers in getting the fertilizer they need.

Innovate: The Vietnamese American Community of Austin, Texas (VACAT) education campaign

The Vietnamese American Community of Austin, Texas (VACAT) exists to strengthen the greater Austin community by providing advocacy, social services, and programming that is culturally appropriate to the Vietnamese community. With their Elaina’s Sustainability Fund grant the organization aims to produce educational materials to educate more than 12,000 Vietnamese residents in Austin how to conserve energy in their home with proper household maintenance, while also promoting household recycling.

Adopt: Zion Christian Academy solar panel installation

Zion Christian Academy is a boarding school for school aged children, located in Ogbomosho, Nigeria. It’s a newly renovated property providing students with a full library, two residential facilities, and over 20 classrooms throughout its campus. When in session, the academy can serve up to 200 students. Zion Christian Academy will use its grant to install 25-35 solar panels on the campus, providing a much-needed energy source for school aged disadvantaged youth and faculty at the school. Solar panels will allow running electricity for 24 hours a day, helping to provide basics for students such as running water as well as access to extended learning time, computers, and providing teachers with online resources.

Adopt: Riverview Apartments senior garden beds

Riverview Apartments, Inc. dba Riverview Towers, provides high-quality affordable rental housing and support services to low-income seniors. The community completed a renovation at the end of 2020 to create affordable ADA-accessible apartments and bring building standards in line with green communities standards – such as insulating walls, installing new windows, and upgrading to EnergyStar appliances. As part of the renovation, the community obtained raised garden beds and will use their Elaina’s Sustainability Fund grant to build a community garden for the residents to grow their own herbs, vegetables, and flowers.

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