constellation-social-responsibility
Community | October 28, 2016

Giving Back: Constellation Community Initiatives With Habitat for Humanity

As a leading competitive retail supplier of power, natural gas, and energy products and services for homes and businesses across the continental US, and a subsidiary of the Exelon Corporation, Constellation’s main focus is supplying power to millions of consumers across America. But Constellation also puts energy — a lot of volunteer and funding energy — into corporate social responsibility initiatives. Constellation wants to give back to the communities in which its own employees live and work.

Through its Community Champions program, one of many Constellation community initiatives, the company provides funding for special community-focused projects — everything from science fairs to community band award cases. Constellation community initiatives with Hands on Atlanta, for instance, include helping the organization extend and expand its very successful ParentU program.

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But perhaps one of Constellation’s largest corporate social responsibility initiatives has been with Habitat for Humanity. During National Volunteer Week 2016, 90 Constellation employees volunteered a total of 500 hours. The volunteers took part in six Habitat for Humanity initiatives in Baltimore, MD; Louisville, KY; New York, NY; Ann Arbor, MI; and De Pere, WI.

Constellation community initiatives with Habitat involve more than volunteer sweat equity. The company also funds a variety of Habitat for Humanity initiatives.

“We find their mission so compelling, to provide safe affordable housing,” says Carrie Stockwell, Constellation senior manager of corporate relations. “But to piggyback on that, they have found a way for us to provide two key areas to that mission.”

One, Stockwell explains, is Constellation community initiatives with local Habitat affiliates that enable Constellation to implement energy improvements in the markets. “It depends on the market,” Stockwell says, “but in every market we’ve been able to identify some program and add elements to help Habitat homeowners save energy and save money.”

In Houston, TX, and Baltimore, MD, for instance, Constellation’s Habitat for Humanity initiatives have included weatherization projects that have helped improve the efficiency standards for the buildings. “It looks a little different in each market, but noticeable improvements in energy parts of the homes is a key driver for us,” Stockwell states. She adds Constellation’s energy investments result in critical savings of up to 85% for Habitat families.

Stephen England knows the value of Constellation’s community initiatives with Habitat firsthand. He, his wife and their three daughters live in a Habitat townhouse built under the auspices of the Habitat Boston chapter. It is also part of Boston Habitat for Humanity initiatives focused on solar power.

England spoke recently at a Boston Habitat for Humanity fundraising breakfast. He was working two jobs while his wife Arlene worked as well. The family of five lived in the attic in the third floor of his aunt’s house. “Our living condition wasn’t great,” he told the audience. “When we tried to cook, the circuit breaker would trip and to get it turned back on, I’d have to call my aunt to come home because we had no access to the breaker. And it would get so cold we would all huddle together in two small rooms.”

A friend at work suggested that England apply to Habitat for Humanity. He did, and the Englands were eventually chosen for the program. He and Arlene put in 300 hours of sweat equity on their days off, moving into their home last June.

“It is so affordable,” he said. “Our mortgage is great; our light bill is zero because we have the solar panel on the roof.”

That enthusiasm is echoed by others in the Boston Habitat chapter who benefitted from the solar funding Constellation provided, says Esther Powell, director of family services at the Boston Habitat for Humanity chapter. All told, six families will receive solar panels in their Habitat homes thanks to this particular Constellation social responsibility choice.

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“Unequivocally [the Habitat homeowners] love it,” Powell relates, noting that she receives copies of their electric bills as part of their data tracking. “I’ll get it in an email or text with a comment like ‘thank you, Habitat’ or smiley faces.” She said one family hadn’t had to paid anything on their electrical bill for three months. “It’s a joy to track this information because it’s so wonderful.”

Adding renewable energy options to their buildings is an important part of Habitat for Humanity’s initiatives, emphasizes Lark Palermo, president and CEO of the Boston Habitat for Humanity chapter. “Habitat is not just an affordable housing program,” she observes. “It’s a real program about responsible home ownership.”

And having homes with renewable energy resources is another way for everyone to be more responsible, she says, noting that this initial Constellation funding enabled Habitat to put solar panels on six different units in the complex. “Without Constellation and that financial support we couldn’t have done this. Having had the chance to get the initial funding from Constellation and now collect the data so we can demonstrate the benefits is really wonderful. It has opened up a whole new world for us in terms of getting support for our Habitat programs.”

Constellation is continuing its commitment, funding a second set of solar panels in the Greater Boston area as part of its continued corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Comments ( 12 )

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Laura Lella-Smith - 11/12/2016

I was so inspired by your program and so inspired by your stories. I am the Development Director at the Habitat for Humanity for Humanity Affiliate in Monmouth County NJ. We would love to become involved with your program. Please contact me to discuss ways in which we might be able to connect! Thank you for all hat you do for Habitat and especially our families!

    Constellation Community Team - 12/15/2016

    Hi, Laura:

    Thank you so much for your comment! And, thanks for the work that you do to help others. It’s people like you who inspire us to do the work that we do in so many communities. Please contact us for more information about our programs. We’d love to help!

Diane manson - 11/11/2016

I’m greatful for this…..

    Constellation Community Team - 12/15/2016

    Diane, thank you for taking the time to comment. I am so glad that our community initiatives are affecting you in a positive way — that’s what makes it all worthwhile. I hope you and yours have a happy and healthy holiday season!

Tonya stillgess - 11/11/2016

Is there a Habitat where I can volunteer to help in the Springfield Ohio area?

    Constellation Community Team - 12/15/2016

    Hi, Tonya: I don’t know what specific opportunities exist in Springfield, Ohio, but if you’re interested, please reach out to the local Habitat for Humanity chapter there, and it will definitely give you all the information. Thank you for your dedication to helping others!

Tonya stillgess - 11/11/2016

Does Constellation offer home loans to low income family’s?

    Constellation Community Team - 12/15/2016

    Thank you for the question, Tonya. Constellation does not offer loans, but we do work with all kinds of families to lower energy costs, whether you own your home or are renting. If you would like more information about how you can save money on energy, please contact us and our friendly representatives will be happy to help.

Hilton Smith - 11/11/2016

Wish more businesses and corporations had commitments to community projects like those described in this message.

    Constellation Community Team - 11/17/2016

    Hilton, thank you so much for the kind words! At Constellation, we do our best to help the people in our communities, because dedication to giving back is such an important part of who we are. I really appreciate your taking the time to comment!

Monica - 11/10/2016

Good evening. i chose Constellation because of the lower rates, of which I was in dire need. Today I just read this message from my email and could not be happier to have received and read that which Constellation does, for the good of humanity! If I were younger and more to the point. healthier, I would love to be taking part in building from the bottom up, for those, who are in more need than I. I will continue to wish you the very best! Warm Regards ~ Monica

    Constellation Community Team - 11/17/2016

    Monica, thank you so much for your lovely comment! It means so much to us that customers like you are happy with our service, but also that you’re engaged in the community like we are. There are always ways in which people can be involved, so I hope you’re able to find something that suits you if you’re interested in giving back. We wish you good health and happiness. Thank you, again, for taking the time to comment.

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