Carbon On-Setting: Community Impact through Home Weatherization in Greenville, SC

Furman University

Date Created: May 20, 2016
Date Posted: May 20, 2016
Content Type: Case Studies

Project Overview

The Community Conservation Corps (CCC), a program of the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability at Furman University, provides free home weatherization to low-income homeowners in the greater Greenville, South Carolina community. The CCC reduces energy consumption and promotes financial stability and health of homeowners through weatherization, energy and water conservation, and education. Furman students help to track program impacts and volunteer on certain projects. CCC community partners include a utility company, Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County and Trees Greenville, among others.

The CCC supports multiple sustainability outcomes. Students, local volunteers, and under-resourced homeowners all learn through home weatherization projects. Clients gain an average 25% reduction in their home’s utility usage (and expense) as well as improved indoor air quality. Furman University applies resulting carbon reductions as an offset in annual greenhouse gas reporting.

The program has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 100 mTCO2e and is set to weatherize its 100th home in Summer 2016.

Background

The Community Conservation Corps (CCC) was established in 2011 as an AmeriCorps program hosted by the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability at Furman University. See timeline for further background.

Goals

The rationale driving development of the Community Conservation Corps (CCC) was to advance university progress towards its carbon neutrality goal in a way that contributes to the well-being of the local community and serves as a model for student action and learning.

Implementation

See timeline.

Timeline

2011: The Community Conservation Corps (CCC) was established in 2011 as an AmeriCorps program hosted by the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability at Furman University

2013: Recipient of Clear Skies Champion award from local non-profit Upstate Forever; program transitioned to Furman University oversight by making the CCC Program Coordinator position a Furman employee

2014: Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed with Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County, making them the preferred contractor for CCC projects.

2016: CCC weatherizes its 100th home and realizes more than 250 mTCO2e greenhouse gas emissions reduction; MOU is signed with Trees Greenville offering all clients native-species shade trees with planting assistance and tree care education.

Financing

Weatherization funding has been provided through various grants over time. Primary funding is from a local utility provider; university provides some match for CCC Coordinator’s salary and in-kind support.

Results

The program has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 100 mTCO2e and is set to weatherize its 100th home in Summer 2016. Average 25% savings on each home’s utility bills. Clients served report improved comfort and reductions in respiratory conditions resulting from poor indoor air quality. Students gain experience and exposure to real-world opportunities for community sustainability impact.

Lessons Learned

There have been too many to name! Yancey Fouché (yancey.fouche@furman.edu) will present on this topic at the AASHE conference 2016 and is happy to have a conversation with interested parties.


Authors


Images

Community Conservation Corps volunteers and staff install insulation for a local homeowner

Community Conservation Corps volunteers and staff install insulation for a ...

Photographer credit: Jeremy Fleming for Furman University

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