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Better Buildings Challenge Multifamily Newsletter: August 2019

In This Issue:


Key Announcements

  • Presentations from the 2019 Better Buildings Summit are now available on the Better Buildings Solution Center! View or download your favorite presentations today.
  • Register for BBC Multifamily Sector's October 1st webinar, Getting to 100%: Overcoming Barriers to Tenant Data Collection. Speakers will present innovative, outside-the-box strategies for collecting tenant energy consumption data, ranging from how to obtain tenant consent for sharing data to embarking on a portfolio-wide campaign to collect 100% whole property data.
  • Are you a Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) or potential CHDO? HUD has released a new online course called CHDO Opportunities in HOME. This self-paced online training serves as both a comprehensive introduction and an important refresher on regulatory requirements for CHDOs under the HOME Investments Partnerships Program (HOME).

Partners Pilot Nation's 1st Multifamily Resilience Assessment Tool in D.C.

In 2018 the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) launched the nation's first multifamily housing resilience assessment tool to support preservation of the District of Columbia's (D.C.'s) affordable housing stock. DOEE provided funding to develop the tool and pilot resilience audits to a partnership led by Better Buildings Financial Ally Enterprise Community Partners, together with the National Housing Trust, New Ecology, Inc., and Clean Energy Group. Three Better Buildings Challenge multifamily partners participated in the 2018-2019 resiliency audit pilot: NHT Communities, Washington D.C. Housing Authority, and WinnCompanies.

Funding was provided by DOEE's Solar for All program in order to advance the goals of Climate Ready DC, D.C.'s plan to prepare for the impacts of climate change such as heatwaves, severe storms, and flooding. The partnership first developed the Resilience and Solar Assessment Tool to help assess affordable housing properties' vulnerability to climate impacts and identify resilience upgrade opportunities, including the installation of solar PV arrays with battery storage systems. The partnership then conducted pilot resilience assessments of more than 20 affordable housing properties and shared reports with property owners in a dedicated counseling session.

Lessons Learned

  • To enable implementation of many physical resilience strategies, assessments should be conducted during the planning phase of a refinance, capital investment, or redevelopment project. Affordable housing owners have limited capacity to assess resilience in their portfolios, and aligning these assessments with scheduled rehabilitation work maximizes staff/resource efficiencies.
  • There is no bad time to engage in emergency planning that includes meaningful resident involvement.
  • Owners approach resilience in their portfolios in a wide variety of ways, depending on their ownership type, property locations, and internal priorities.
  • There is an ongoing need for energy efficiency expertise to continue to improve the operating performance of affordable housing in D.C. Some pilot participants found the most value in the energy and water efficiency portion of the assessments.

Enterprise and its collaborators are currently evaluating larger-scale implementation strategies. The assessment tool is intended to help Washington, D.C. achieve its goals of increasing the climate resilience of affordable housing properties, reducing energy use, cutting energy bills, and increasing solar power, but the program also seeks to influence the broader affordable housing sector to design, develop and operate climate-resilient, energy-efficient and solar-ready homes. The tool is now available to the public at DC.gov (scroll half way down page to Affordable Housing Resilience Assessment Tool). Please contact Enterprise's Laurie Schoeman for more information.


Enterprise's 2020 Green Communities Criteria Include HUD’s Multifamily Utility Benchmarking Toolkit

Enterprise Community Partners recently released for public comment its draft 2020 Green Communities Criteria, the nation's only green building program specifically designed for the affordable housing sector. The Criteria include a requirement (Criterion 8.5) for energy and water data collection and monitoring under Category 8: Operations, Maintenance, and Resident Engagement, and incorporate HUD's Multifamily Utility Benchmarking Toolkit. The inclusion of the tool, developed by HUD and ICF under the BBC program, in this crucial sustainability standard will expose the best practices contained therein to a wider audience of affordable housing providers who can then apply them to their own portfolios.

Submit your comments on the draft 2020 Enterprise Green Communities Criteria by August 30th.


Spotlight on Partner Success

Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) published a new Implementation Model on their transition of utility bills to residents of Pondview Apartments. Residents will now pay utility bills based on actual energy consumption rather than an estimated amount. The new policy gives residents the opportunity to control their costs by conserving energy. JPNDC designed a building-wide challenge to help residents understand the connection between behavior and energy use and to increase buy-in through transparency and hands-on education. JPNDC compared residents' weather-normalized energy consumption in summer 2018 to their energy consumption in 2017 and offered rewards to top savers.

Cambridge (MA) Housing Authority's (CHA) new Showcase Project highlights the efficiency work on their 19-story Frank J. Manning Apartments building. After nearly 40 years of continuous operation, the building's concrete exterior was scaling and vulnerable to leaks, drafts, and negative pressure. CHA completed a $66 million energy project that included installation of a combined heat and power (CHP) cogeneration system, new condensing gas plant and chiller, upgrades to the building envelope and windows, LED lighting, and water efficiency upgrades. In total, the project has reduced energy intensity by 60 percent, with over $350,000 in annual operating savings.

Pondview Apartments

JPNDC's Pondview Apartments includes 60 affordable units.
 

Frank J. Manning Apartments

Exterior of Manning Apartments post construction.
 

         
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