Project: Facility Energy Upgrades
Jurisdiction: Loveland, Colo.
Agency: Public Works
Community Partners: School District and Housing Authority
Date Began: January 2009
Cost: $17,600 for energy audits and $6,700 for LEED certification

In Loveland, Colo., the public works department may lead sustainability efforts, but it works extensively with other groups to accomplish its goals. "We believe that if we can build collaborations with other partners and really be a linchpin in the collaboration, [we can be most successful]," says Keith Reester, Loveland's director of public works.

That culture of collaboration is evident in the city's current project to improve energy efficiency in its public and affordable housing units. Loveland's public works department formed a partnership with the local school district and housing authority to work toward sustainable housing for underserved populations, such as seniors and low-wage workers. "We got all the facility operations folks to focus on sustainability issues and asked them to think about how we could collectively enhance our buildings and make them more sustainable," Reester says.

One development that came out of the partnership has been a widespread effort for housing authority personnel to become accredited by the U.S. Green Building Council in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. Now, those LEED-accredited professionals are leading the next project, which involves conducting energy audits of each affordable housing unit in the city. Completing the audits will help the collaborative identify the current state of each property so they can develop plans for improving them. A possible first step may be replacing aged boilers with high-efficiency units. "Our goal is not only to enhance energy use in these units, but to create much more sustainable facilities," Reester says. "It's an opportunity for us to build momentum among underserved communities."

Read the main story, "Goal Diggers," to learn more about how public works leaders cultivate sustainable communities.