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Better Buildings Challenge Multifamily Newsletter: March 2021

In This Issue:


Key Announcements

  • Leading by Example: How Multifamily Real Estate Companies Approach Energy Management and Savings: A number of multifamily real estate companies are integrating energy efficiency into their planning and operations. The results? They are lowering their operating costs, increasing property values, and contributing to climate change mitigation efforts. A new American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy topic brief profiles three U.S. companies’ energy efficiency retrofit projects, including detailed information on each project’s scope of work, funding, and outcomes.






Apartment building in an urban area

  • Join the Better Buildings webinar Navigating Air Purification Technologies during COVID on Monday, March 22, 2021 at 1:00 PM EDT. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased interest in novel technologies, such as ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) and bi-polar ionization. What factors should practitioners consider as part of a building operations reopening plan? Speakers will discuss and highlight proven and impactful strategies for reopening safely without compromising energy efficiency. Register for the Navigating Air Purification Technologies during COVID webinar.


  • Go “behind the scenes” with Enterprise Community Partners on the Relay Network’s Community of Practice Webinar: Enterprise Green Communities Program and Policy Trends on Thursday, March 18, 2021 at 2:00 PM EDT. Learn about 2015 Enterprise Green Criteria project trends, and what the organization expects to see (or not see) for 2020 Criteria projects. The team will share highlights from federal, state, and local policy where green building is intersecting with affordable housing. Register for the Relay Network’s Community of Practice webinar.


2021 Better Buildings, Better Plants Virtual Summit

Better Buildings, Better Plants 2021 Summit graphic

Join us online May 17-20, 2021, for valuable sessions and peer exchange opportunities with multifamily building experts and stakeholders. This year’s Summit will highlight the next generation of housing that we need to build or rehabilitate to meet our critical climate challenges and build back after the COVID-19 shutdown of the past 12 months.

The Summit is free for all attendees; choose the sessions that interest you during registration. Register for the Summit.

In addition to a wide range of topics over four days, there are three panels specifically focused on exploring new horizons and best practices in multifamily housing:

  • Multifamily Meet-Up
    Monday, May 17, 2021, 1:00 – 2:30 PM EDT
    Connect with your multifamily housing peers and share challenges and successes in reaching energy efficiency goals. We’ll hear from HUD’s new leadership on implementing the Biden administration’s climate and clean energy agenda in affordable housing, and an interactive discussion will explore how partners can build upon successes in energy efficiency to set and achieve low carbon goals.
    Speakers: Caitlin Rood, Mercy Housing; Rebecca Schaaf, Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future; HUD speaker TBD

  • Unleashing the Power of Community Solar in Multifamily Buildings
    Tuesday, May 18, 2021, 2:00 – 3:15 PM EDT
    This session will survey the current regulatory landscape for community solar in multifamily housing and explore promising strategies to overcome barriers. Multifamily partners will present their experiences partnering with local organizations to deliver community solar projects that result in utility savings to low-income residents and bring workforce and economic development opportunities to the community.
    Speakers: Jenny Heeter, National Renewable Energy Lab’s National Community Solar Partnership Program; Christopher Jedd, Denver Housing Authority; Darien Crimmin, WinnCompanies

  • Everything Electrification!
    Wednesday, May 19, 2021, 2:00 – 3:15 PM EDT
    There is a growing trend toward electrification of new and existing buildings in multifamily housing as a means to achieve significant cost savings, reduce carbon pollution, and improve indoor air quality and public safety. This session will address programmatic and technological approaches to going all-electric in multifamily housing, exploring current challenges in domestic hot water, technologies for space heating using heat pumps, and more.
    Speakers: Julie Klump, Preservation of Affordable Housing; Rory Christian and Edwin Mendez, NYCHA; Jordan Dentz, The Levy Partnership; Andy McNamara, Bright Power


Spotlight on Partner Success

  • Bridge Housing achieved 23 percent energy savings at Copper Creek Apartments, a 48-unit affordable housing complex for low-income families in San Marcos, California. Bridge has published a Showcase Project on its project, where it replaced a heat pump split system with a new, higher efficiency (16 SEER) unit, installed a variable speed pool pump, and implemented lighting upgrades. The project was made possible through San Diego Gas & Electric’s (SDG&E’s) Energy Savings Assistance for Common Area Measures (ESA CAM).






Copper Creek apartments

  • Cleveland Housing Authority (CHA) in Cleveland, Tennessee published an Implementation Model on its experience implementing an Energy Performance Contract (EPC) through HUD’s EPC program. CHA used EPC funds to implement a series of measures to improve the energy and water efficiency of its portfolio, leading to a direct reduction in overall utility expenses and creating cost savings for CHA’s low-income residents. These improvements led to resident utility savings of over $486,800 over the 2019/2020 time period.
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