|WAVE crews swarm a site after PHA completes an inspection of
all units, prepares work orders and buys materials for that
Crew members receive their work orders and materials at the truck
shown in this photo at Oxford Village.
|Completed work orders are recorded immediately at a special,
computerized mobile unit that travels from site to site.
|Graduates of PHA's Pre-Apprenticeship Program are included on
the WAVE teams, providing employment and experience for PHA
residents. These two graduates are shown repairing a floor in a
home at Oxford Village.
The Philadelphia Housing Authority is setting a precedent with its
groundbreaking Maintenance WAVE program that benefits both the
environment and the local economy.
WAVE is shorthand for "Weatherization and Value Enhancement."
Upgrades made under the program reduce energy consumption while
improving the value of PHA properties. The WAVE program employs
craftsmen and women who might otherwise be out of work in the
Crews are installing energy efficient lighting, fixing plumbing
problems to conserve water, and checking for possible electrical
hazards. The Maintenance WAVE is another example of PHA's
commitment to reducing energy costs and demonstrating its
stewardship of the environment, while re-engineering properties and
improving their value.
Since the Maintenance WAVE began this spring, over 8,800
preventive repairs and upgrades have been completed at over a dozen
"This is a unique approach to efficiently weatherize thousands
of units. These repairs are intended to reduce costs by decreasing
energy and water use. The program also has the added benefit of
creating new jobs during this economic downturn," said PHA
Executive Director Carl Greene.
The WAVE utilizes the skills of carpenters, electricians,
plumbers, and glaziers in four teams. Two teams - numbering around
35 people each - handle work at PHA's conventional sites, while two
smaller teams of around 7 people each handle scattered site
The teams work seven days a week, allowing work to take place in
units on weekends. In a special agreement with the building trades,
team members work shifts of 10 hours a day, four days a week.
Unlike other weatherization programs, these workers have been
trained to do more than weatherization and can make more
complicated repairs. Graduates of PHA's Pre-Apprenticeship Program
are included on the teams, providing employment and experience for
The WAVE program is very efficient. Before work crews arrive at
a site, units and common areas are inspected to determine what
upgrades are needed. Service orders are then created and prepared
prior to the arrival of WAVE crews. When work crews arrive at a
site, the orders are ready and the right materials have been
ordered. Under this system, more work is done in fewer days.
"The WAVE allows us to complete more orders in less time than
ever before, increasing our efficiency and responsiveness to our
residents. Because of our automated systems, we are also better
able to track the work performed and plan for future needs," Greene
As upgrades are completed, data entry on each upgrade is entered
in a mobile unit with computers at the site. So, PHA has a real
time idea of the progress that crews are making. The agency is also
able to learn what problems are most common and plan
The current version of the Maintenance WAVE will come to a close
at the end of August. PHA officials estimate that the agency will
have invested around $2 million.
Next up, PHA hopes to leverage newly available funds for
weatherization to expand its Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program
and further support green job creation and retention.