Elaina’s Sustainability Fund has selected five organizations and individuals to receive the first round of grant funding after reviewing applications from around the globe.
Launched in 2019 through the IREM (Institute of Real Estate Management) Foundation, the purpose of the grants is to encourage innovation or adoption of sustainability and occupant wellness initiatives that impact buildings where people live, work, shop, and play.
“Elaina’s Sustainability Fund is just one of the many ways we’re able to make a difference in the global community,” said IREM Foundation President Julie Scott. “The Foundation has done amazing work over the years, supporting diversity initiatives, and helping aspiring real estate managers earn their IREM certifications. We look forward to seeing the results of the sustainability projects that our recipients from around the world are taking part in.”
The Foundation accepted applications for funding based on three pathways:
- Innovate – for individuals and companies that already have a sustainability plan and need funding to execute.
- Adopt – for individuals and companies who want to implement a sustainability initiative but aren’t sure where to start.
- Research – individuals and companies interested in tracking the impact that comes with sustainability can submit a proposal for a pilot program or study.
Based on this criteria, the IREM Foundation board of directors has selected five initiatives across the categories:
- 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.
- Innovate: Wastezon Smart Bin – Wastezon, a cleantech startup based in Rwanda, will produce 30 of their Wastezon Smart Bins, backed by IoT technology. The Smart Bin offers automated sorting, tracks waste decomposition, sterilizes odour, 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.
- Innovate: The Vietnamese American Community at Austin, Texas (VACAT) education campaign – VACAT aims to produce educational materials to education 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, a boarding school for school-aged children, located in Ogbomosho, Nigeria, will use its grant to install 25 to 35 solar panels on the campus, reducing dependance on generators and providing a much-needed energy source for school-aged disadvantaged youth and faculty at the school.
- Adopt: Riverview Apartments senior garden beds – Riverview Apartments, Inc., a low-income senior housing community, will build a community garden for the residents to grow their own herbs, vegetables, and flowers.
Elaina’s Sustainability Fund was established through a donation from Cheryl Gray, real estate strategist and IREM immediate past president, and her husband Rick to honour their late daughter’s legacy and commitment to improving the impact that buildings have on the environment.
“Elaina believed that any effort can make a difference and supported any and all attempts to facilitate change in her lifetime,” said Gray. “It makes me so happy to see the projects we’ve supported with the fund and makes me proud to see that we’re supporting initiatives across the globe in Elaina’s name.”