Better Buildings Challenge Multifamily Newsletter: April 2022

In This Issue:

Key Announcements

  • Better Building Alliance Plug and Process Loads (PPLs) Team Webinar Screenshot Learn about integrating plug load management into lighting and building management systems through the recorded Better Buildings Alliance Plug and Process Loads (PPLs) Team Webinar led by Dr. Kim Trenbath, Researcher and Acting Innovation Lead at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Dr. Trenbath and her team share success stories from Minnesota’s Department of Transportation and the University of California San Diego to illustrate the benefits of plug load controls integration.
  • Register for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)’s 14th Energy Efficiency Finance Forum to learn about funding avenues for energy-saving initiatives and retrofits for the residential, commercial, and government sectors, and stay up-to-date on the latest policy efforts at the city, state, and national levels. The Forum will take place in White Plains, New York, on May 23 - 25, 2022.
  • Read about the threat of environmental hazards and climate change to the rental housing stock in the United States in the Joint Center for Housing Studies’ America’s Rental Housing 2022 report. According to the report, approximately 40 percent of occupied rental units are located in areas at risk of substantial annual losses from environmental hazards.

Opportunities for Multifamily Partners at the 2022 Better Buildings Summit

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Join us on May 17 - 19, 2022 at the 2022 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit for valuable sessions and peer exchange opportunities with multifamily building experts and stakeholders. This year’s Summit will include a primer on Passive House development and highlight strategies and solutions to common challenges in multifamily electrification initiatives. Partners will also have a chance to network and share best practices at the Multifamily Sector Meet-Up and an informal dinner together on May 17, 2022.

The Summit will take place at the DoubleTree Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia (just outside of Washington, D.C.). Choose the sessions that interest you during registration; in addition to a wide range of topics, there are several panels covering new challenges and best practices in multifamily housing:

  • Multifamily Meet-Up
    Wednesday, May 18, 2022, 9:00 – 10:30 AM EDT
    Connect with your multifamily housing peers at the Multifamily Meet-Up! Explore the new frontier of electrification to reduce carbon emissions, and engage in discussion on the multifamily affordable housing policies and programs needed to decarbonize. Attendees will also hear from HUD’s leadership on implementing its Climate Action Plan across HUD's portfolio of housing.
    Speakers: Bomee Jung, Cadence OneFive; Ravi Malhotra, ICAST; Ilene Mason, Rethinking Power Management

  • Cutting-Edge Retrofit Solutions in Multifamily Housing
    Wednesday, May 18, 2022, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT
    Learn about cutting-edge retrofit projects that leverage off-site construction to achieve net-zero energy retrofits in multifamily housing. Hear about demonstration projects that use an EnergieSprong-like approach, installing prefabricated facade panels on the building exterior and all-electric mechanical systems that integrate heating, cooling water heating, heat-recovery ventilation, and dehumidification.
    Speakers: Christina McPike, WinnCompanies; Ryan Cassidy, RiseBoro Community Partnership; Martha Campbell, RMI

  • Electrification in Existing Multifamily Buildings: Challenges and Solutions
    Wednesday, May 18, 2022, 2:00 – 3:30 PM EDT
    Multifamily housing owners face numerous technical challenges to electrifying space heating and domestic hot water (DHW) systems in existing buildings. Hear from experts and multifamily partners who have tackled everything from heat pump size and space constraints to electrical panel upgrades in existing buildings, as well as code and permitting challenges with municipalities and utilities.
    Speakers: Jordan Bonomo, New York City Housing Authority; Andy Brooks, Association for Energy Affordability; Ravi Malhotra, ICAST

  • Multifamily Passive House 101: Key Pitfalls and Smart Strategies
    Thursday, May 19, 2022, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM EDT
    In this session, learn how to avoid pitfalls when working with teams new to Passive House development in affordable housing. Attendees will hear lessons learned from design, construction, and testing and get insight on how to balance cost and performance for tight budgets.
    Speakers: Tim McDonald, Onion Flats Architecture; Julie Klump, Preservation of Affordable Housing; Sanyog Rathod, Sol Design Consulting

Calling all Better Climate Challenge and Low Carbon Pilot partners! Join us for in-depth workshops focused on decarbonization strategies on the first day of the Summit, Tuesday, May 17, 2022:

  • Better Climate Challenge Partner Roundtable: 1:00 – 2:00 PM EDT
  • Low Carbon Pilot Workshop: 3:30 – 5:30 PM EDT

Register for the Summit.

Spotlight on Partner Successes

Image of Mercy Housing
  • Mercy Housing achieved its Better Buildings Challenge goal in 2020 in part by fuel-switching from gas to electric across six properties, part of a larger portfolio approach to retrofits that maximized energy and water savings across 48 properties. Mercy Housing was one of the first affordable multifamily organizations in the country to replace gas-powered hot water heating systems with high-efficiency electric heat pumps at scale. The strategy was financed through a partnership with energy services company Affordable Community Energy (ACE). See the Arden Aire Apartments Showcase Project, detailing the energy upgrades, which generated 21 percent in energy savings and over $22,000 in annual cost savings for the property.
  • Resident engagement is a critical and low-cost tool in the energy and water savings toolbox. The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) took full advantage of this tool to maximize savings generated through an Energy Performance Contract (EPC) across its whole portfolio. Through a series of initiatives aimed at both educating and learning from residents and staff, MPHA was able to:
    • Address barriers that were hindering optimal use of residential units
    • Elicit the collaboration of both residents and staff in reducing energy and water consumption
    • Generate greater resident awareness of efficiency strategies
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