Better Buildings Challenge Multifamily Newsletter: January 2021

In This Issue:

Key Announcements

Summit Banner

  • It’s that time of year again…the Better Buildings Challenge Data Drive! Partners are asked to submit energy performance data (and water and/or waste data if applicable) by Monday, March 1, 2021.
  • On Monday, January 25, 2021 at 1:00 PM EST join the Better Buildings webinar, Minimizing Infectious Disease Spread in Buildings: How HVAC Guidance has Evolved. Learn how guidance on managing HVAC systems to minimize the spread of infectious diseases has evolved during the pandemic through new data and research published by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and others.
  • HUD has announced its new Multifamily Accelerated Processing Guide 2020 (MAP Guide). The new Map Guide establishes a national standard of practice and procedure for approved lenders to prepare, underwrite, and submit loan applications for FHA multifamily mortgage insurance. HUD will hold three webinars to highlight changes from the 2016 version. The first webinar will cover several chapters including Chapter 6, on Energy and Water Conservation. Register for the webinar, scheduled on Thursday, January 21, 2021 from 2:00 - 3:30 PM EST.

  • Save the date! The 2021 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit is happening virtually the week of May 17, 2021. Connect with your multifamily housing peers, explore emerging technologies, and share innovative strategies for energy and water efficiency, waste reduction, project financing, and more.
  • Watch a recording of New Buildings Institute’s December 2020 webinar, Getting to Zero in Affordable Multifamily Buildings. Presenters from The Community Preservation Corporation and the Association for Energy Affordability shared challenges, lessons learned, and actual cost data from successful zero energy affordable multifamily projects.

Better Buildings Solution Center: A Focus on Multifamily Resources

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Better Buildings Solution Center is the place to find proven and cost-effective energy and water efficiency solutions by building type, sector, technology, barrier, and more. The website is the hub for all Better Buildings programs, including the Better Buildings Challenge Multifamily program.

Screenshot of Better Buildings page

Pages on the site that are most useful to multifamily partners include the:

Visit the Solution Center’s welcome page for a quick overview of the site.

The Multifamily program page includes a summary of the state of the sector, program announcements, featured solutions written by multifamily partners, as well as multifamily specific resources. Check out the links to the Multifamily Utility Benchmarking Guide and past multifamily webinars that are featured on HUD's Utility Benchmarking page.

The CELICA Toolkit provides an overview of tools, resources, and models for developing low-income energy efficiency and renewable energy programs based on work in this DOE- sponsored accelerator. The toolkit provides program models for low-income multifamily housing energy retrofits for state and local program administrators. These materials are the product of CELICA’s two-year partnership with over 30 stakeholders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

The new Renewable Energy Resource Hub is a collection of renewables resources to help partners navigate alternative energy solutions and address common challenges. Find the answers to your renewable energy questions or learn about renewable energy basics on this page. The Waste Reduction Pilot page is available to the public, regardless of whether or not an organization is part of the pilot. Waste diversion and reduction resources, recordings of pilot partner meetings, and partner waste solutions are all available to peruse.

The annual Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit is an opportunity to explore emerging technologies and share innovative strategies in energy and water efficiency with peers. Organizations can find recordings of the previous year’s Summit sessions on the 2020 Summit Sessions page. Visit the Solution Center’s Events and Webinars page to explore other upcoming events and webinars or watch recordings of past webinars.

Spotlight on Partner Success

  • The Housing Authority of the City of San Buenaventura (HACSB) will be receiving rebates from Southern California Edison to pay for its battery storage systems, backing up power for vulnerable residents during public safety power shut-offs under California’s wildfire prevention regime. The rebates are part of the California Public Utilities Commission’s Self-Generation Incentive Program. The incentives have been reserved for two HACSB properties: Westview Village Phase III, currently under construction and targeted for net zero and LEED for Homes certification, will have four batteries backing up its solar PV system; and Westview Village Phase II, which will begin construction in 2022 and will target LEED platinum certification, received one battery rebate reservation.

HACSB logo

  • Since 2014, National Housing Trust (NHT) has developed over 10 MW of solar capacity across the country using various models of equity ownership, lending, and co-developer roles, and they currently have another 2 MW of solar projects on the way. NHT’s team of sustainability experts has helped dozens of affordable housing partners realize thousands of dollars of annual savings that can be repurposed toward building upgrades and resident services. As of Fall 2020, the 2 MW of solar panels owned directly by NHT have provided $400,000 in utility savings, of which $230,000 is earmarked for resident services through DC’s Solar for All program. Those same systems have also offset approximately 8.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide to date.
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