What is the Organization?
The Sustainability Institute is one of the three original programs identified in the Noisette Community Master Plan essential to grow a sustainable culture long-term. The Noisette Company and the Noisette Foundation founded the Institute and provided the original operating capital and in-kind support of office space and financial management for the first five years.
The Sustainability Institute (SI) is a nonprofit, 501c(3) organization that empowers South Carolinians to reduce their environmental footprint where they live and work by offering green building training and services and community education and outreach. SI brings the unique focus on the “built environment”, while many other environmental groups focus strictly on land and/or water conservation. SI builds the capacity of individuals and communities to meet the organization’s ultimate goal of transforming the places where people live and work into more sustainable, energy-efficient and healthy living environments. SI’s training, outreach and services are designed to increase the education and expertise both within the general public and within the South Carolina building industry to lead more people into the movement of creating communities that can be sustainable for future generations. SI celebrated its 10th Anniversary in 2009, and the same year marked $1 Million Dollars in energy savings for its clients.
What does Sustainability Institute do?
SI offers a range of services to help make South Carolina homes more energy efficient and to assist South Carolinians in life-long sustainability learning. SI conducts specialized trainings and workshops for homeowners and building professionals, training more than 6,000 people since 2003 and documenting more than $1 Million Dollars in associated energy savings. SI offers such services and tools as energy audits (certified Home Energy Ratings), sustainable consulting for both municipalities and small businesses, and the South Carolina Green Building Directory (SCGBD). SI also runs one of the southeast’s first ‘Green Jobs’ training programs, the Energy Conservation Corps (ECC). The ECC is a national AmeriCorps program that trains at-risk, young adults in green construction and weatherization skills and weatherizes more than 50 homes a year of low-income residents suffering from high utility bills.
SI’s residential energy audit service helps homeowners understand their highest priorities and best investments for reducing energy expenditures in their home. Homes are performance tested using such equipment as a blower-door and duct-blaster, and improvement reports are produced for homeowners that detail recommendations and payback periods for various energy upgrades. SI has also developed partnerships with area affordable housing providers and nonprofits, and helps them manage the process of auditing their homes and measuring program outcomes.
SI has provided consulting services for both the City of Charleston and City of North Charleston, and for local companies including Hagemeyer, Duvall Catering, Cantey Technology, and the Charleston Battery. The South Carolina Green Building Directory (SCGBD) is an easy to use, go-to and online resource for those interested in accessing tools for green building in South Carolina. The goal of the SCGBD is to provide users with information they need to find products and services that support green building practices for new construction or remodeling of residential and commercial facilities in South Carolina.
SI operates its offices out of two, cutting-edge ‘green’ facilities. The “GreenHouse Learning Center” in North Charleston is a sustainably remodeled 1940’s era home that is open to the public for tours and educational workshops. It is also the headquarters of the Energy Conservation Corps (ECC) program. The Sustainability Institute at “113 Calhoun Street” is in a historic Charleston single building originally built in the 1800’s that has been retrofitted with the latest hurricane protection and energy conservation technology available today. Located just one block east of Marion Square in downtown Charleston, the building is open to the public for tours by appointment.
In 2009, The Sustainability Institute was recognized with a National Award of Excellence of the Home Depot Foundation.
“Our partnership with the Noisette Foundation has been instrumental in building SI’s capacity to effectively run our Energy Conservation Corps program. Utilizing the Foundation’s existing relationship with CNCS AmeriCorps, “learning the ropes” of administrating an AmeriCorps site from an experienced entity, and partnering with the Foundation to reduce programmatic expenses through the use of shared office space and resources has all enabled the Institute to build a well-managed and innovative program that will serve as a model both locally and nationally.” – Sustainability Institute Director – Bryan Cordell
How can more information be obtained?
The Sustainability Institute
North Charleston Office:
1441 East Montague Avenue,
N. Charleston SC 29405
113 Calhoun Street
Charleston, SC 29401