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Public Housing Environmental and Conservation Clearinghouse 

** PLEASE NOTE TIME CHANGE for February’s webinar**

Webinar Title: Energy is Everywhere - STEM Learning Ecosystems
Date: Feb 18, 2016 at 3:30 PM EST

Register now!

Two recent reports from the National Research Council show that many effective and enriching STEM opportunities take place outside the classroom. Out-of-school programs provide meaningful learning experiences that excite and sustain interest in STEM, build real skills, and help youth connect STEM to their lives and communities; however students from different backgrounds receive very different levels of out-of-school learning opportunities.

The concept of a ‘STEM Learning Ecosystem’ has recently emerged as a promising approach both for increasing overall interest and engagement in STEM within a community as well as for addressing disparities in access to quality STEM learning opportunities. A STEM Learning Ecosystem is a learner-centric model that leverages community assets across multiple settings that together constitute a rich array of learning opportunities for young people. Such settings include schools, community organizations such as libraries, after-school and summer programs, STEM-rich institutions such as science centers and museums, as well as informal experiences at home and in a variety of environments.

A learning ecosystem harnesses the unique contributions of all these different settings, providing multiple and varied opportunities for STEM learning to all children so that they may become engaged, knowledgeable and skilled in the STEM disciplines.

In addition to an overview of the STEM Learning Ecosystems concept and profiles of communities that have developed and implemented STEM Ecosystems, this webinar will look at the initiative which launched in June 2015 that will provide seed funding to significantly increase the number of STEM Ecosystems nationwide.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Energy is Everywhere Webinar Series webpage ( is updated with description of previously held Energy Is Everywhere webinars.

For additional information on SEED, please refer to

Upgraded Utility Benchmarking Tool Available to PHAs

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has upgraded a free online utility benchmarking tool that can help you as a PHA identify what your properties’ energy use is, ultimately allowing you to determine how to reduce your energy and save on utilities. EPA’s tool, the Portfolio Manager, is a free, web-based benchmarking tool that allows users to monitor the water and energy consumption of the buildings in their portfolio.  With this tool, interested PHAs can track their weather-normalized utility consumption by month or year, allowing you to compare energy use between buildings, target improvements to reduce your energy consumption and costs, and determine the effectiveness of energy improvements.

PHAs who have used the tool and want to see the upgrades, can visit EPA’s upgrade page.

PHAs who are new to the tool, can get started here: Energy Star Benchmarking Starter Kit.


Sustainable and Green Topics

[Image - Apartment]Energy Conservation

All Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) are required to implement HUD policies in support of National Energy Conservation goals by requiring PHAs to conduct energy audits and undertake certain cost effective energy conservation measures.  When cost effective and funding is available, PHAs should install energy conservation measures with the shortest paybacks periods first to help fund longer payback energy conservation measures.   

Smoke Free Public Housing
Since 2009,  the Office of Public and Indian Housing has encouraged PHAs to adopt smoke free housing policies in some or all of their buildings.  The elimination of second or third hand smoke that can migrate between multifamily units can be an important step towards improving the health of residents as well as reducing maintenance costs for PHAs.   

Click here to read the Press Release for "Smoke-free subsidized housing would save $521 million a year."

[Image - Mattress]Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
IPM focuses on pest prevention, eliminating sources and using less toxic materials to control pests such as bedbugs, cockroaches and ants.

Water Conservation

[Image - Water Droplet] Water conservation benchmarking is a very useful starting point for PHAs to target water saving opportunities and can help PHAs overall asset management strategy.

[Image - AC Unit] Operations & Maintenance
O&M includes all aspects of running a building over the course of its useful life. Because of the far-reaching nature of O&M, a well designed and properly executed program is critical to the overall success.

[Image - Eco friendly person with suitcase] PIH Green Initiative
The PIH Green Initiative is about spotlighting the latest topics related to the environmental movement known as "Going Green" This month's article is about Green Building.

[Image - Lead Paint] Hazardous Materials
Lead Threat Thrives: Years after poisoning, a Queensbury family still fearing its effects.

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Energy Stars and Green Giants
PHECC Newsletters
Additional Resources

Research and review more details about what HUD and other federal government agencies have available to further awareness around energy and environmental conservation issues.

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