Jun 23, 2015
No comments

The senior manager of a project that brought significant improvements to Richmond City Center Apartments received the Green Renovation Award from the Urban Green Council in New York City on Monday.

The council awarded seven “unsung heroes of building management” from around the nation at its Oscar-style EBie Awards at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square (see the full list of award-winners below this report). The EBies (short for existing buildings) recognize the people responsible for facilitating improvements in existing buildings that cut energy and water use, reduce waste, make lighting more efficient and other green initiatives.

Ali Gaylord, senior project manager for BRIDGE Housing Corp., was called a “verdant brainiac” for her work in financially restructuring the 64-unit Richmond City Center at 1000 Macdonald Ave. to allow for a gut renovation of the affordable housing development, which was originally built in 1993.

Last month, Richmond City Center was rededicated following the 14-month, $10.5 million renovation. The project added ground-floor community space for classes and services and repaired interiors of apartments and exterior building systems. Upgrades included “new photo-voltaic solar panels, new lighting, and energy-star rated appliances.”

The facility now offers the Chevron Community Room, a place where residents and community members can connect to career resources. The new partnership between BRIDGE Housing and SparkPoint Contra Costa allows residents and community members access to an array of services to help them build a financially secure future. Health access and other basic support services are also offered in the community room.

sparkpoint.6-20Andrea Bailey, community engagement manager for Chevron Richmond who spoke at the re-dedication,  called the partnership “a really proud moment.”

“This is how you create change in a community,” she said.

Cynthia Parker, president and CEO of BRIDGE Housing, said in a statement the nonprofit has “always believed that an affordable home should be a place for stability and a stepping stone for advancement, and SparkPoint is an ideal partner for us in Richmond.”

Below is the full list of Urban Green Council winners:

All-Rounder: Performance Excellence in Multiple Categories: Stephen Monez, Assistant Vice President of Corporate Engineering; Mount Sinai Health System, Brooklyn, NY: Steve and his team made a number of impressive improvements in a fully occupied community hospital. Their retrofit included a new CHP system, new boilers, and lighting and control upgrades, along with combined with environmentally friendly materials and an IAQ program. Energy was reduced 27 percent and patient comfort was enhanced

Smooth Operator: Operations and Maintenance Excellence: Eric Gregory, Manager of the Sustainable Performance Program; Emory University, Goizueta School of Business, Atlanta, GA: The School had been LEED EB GOLD back in 2004, but performance was now flagging. Eric and his team replaced BAS control panels and created an alarm system to detect abnormalities in energy rates. The project paid for itself in only 10 months—with savings exceeding expectations. 

Power to the People: Exceptional Energy Saving: Andreas Benzing, Principal, a.m. Benzing Architects PLLC; Mamaroneck Passive House, Mamaroneck, NY; Utilizing known passive house techniques, Benzing and his team were able to achieve a 70 percent reduction in energy use. Steve Melink, CEO, Melink Corporation; Melink LEED Platinum EB & Net-Zero Energy HQ, Milford, OH: Melink Corp., already in the business of energy efficiency, put their money where their mouth is by retrofitting their headquarters. Through the use of photovoltaics and operational efficiencies they were able to achieve a 71% reduction in energy source intensity and a Portfolio Manager rating of 99.

Verdant Brainiac: Green Renovation Innovation: Ali Gaylord, Senior Project Manager, BRIDGE Housing Corp; Richmond City Center Apartments, Richmond, CA: A financial restructuring of the property allowed a gut renovation of this 64-unit affordable housing development. Upgrades included an improved building envelope, new PV solar panels, new lighting, and energy star rated appliances.

It Takes A Village: Commercial Tenant Performance Improvement: Sammie Baker, Senior Property Manager, Parkway Properties; Frost Bank Tower, Austin, TX; By successfully educating its Frost Tower tenants about simple sustainability strategies and their importance, Sammie and her team now have a scalable strategy for environmental stewardship that can be applied to other buildings. And 77 percent of Frost Tower’s waste has been diverted from landfills.

Take Me to the River: Winning Water Saving: Richard V. Piacentini, Executive Director, Phipps Conservatory; Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, Pittsburgh, PA In a quest to reduce potable water usage across their entire campus, Richard and his team systematically assessed and rehabilitated water systems through repairs and resealing, and installed automated control boards, timers and level sensors to decrease water waste. Combined, these efforts resulted in a 45 percent decrease in water consumption.

Jury Award: Tim Trefzer, Sustainability Manager, GWCC Authority; Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA: Georgia World Congress Center is the world’s largest LEED certified convention center. To date, Tim and his team have diverted over 275 tons of single-stream recyclables, 119 tons of organics for composting, and donated over 58 tons of food to local organizations.


About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.