Better Buildings Challenge Multifamily Newsletter: March 2022

In This Issue:

Key Announcements

  • Registrations are now open for the Hot Water Forum hosted on March 21 - 23, 2022 by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). ACEEE’s Hot Water Forum is the only national conference focused exclusively on water heating, the second largest use of energy in multifamily homes. Attendees will have the opportunity to connect with industry leaders, advocates, startups, and other stakeholders in this tight-knit community. This year’s Forum will be hosted virtually.
  • Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit Logo Save the date for the 2022 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit from May 17 - 19, 2022. Engage with multifamily peers, explore emerging technologies, and share strategies for energy and water efficiency, carbon reduction, workforce development, and more.
  • Join two ENERGY STAR training webinars covering questions on tracking energy consumption and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions:
    • Tracking GHG emissions in Portfolio Manager (recording): This webinar will provide a closer look at tracking and reporting your GHG emissions using ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager. Attend this webinar if you’re interested in:
      • Understanding Portfolio Manager’s GHG emissions inventory tools
      • Learning how to track emissions benefits from green power use in Portfolio Manager
      • Receiving instruction on how to use Portfolio Manager’s reporting functionality to track GHG emissions for the properties in your portfolio
  • The Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) and the Better Buildings Alliance launched a new ‘Platinum’ level of the Green Lease Leaders program, which seeks to address the greater Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) impacts of leasing practices. GLL is a national recognition program honoring landlords, tenants, and partnering real estate practitioners from a variety of sectors that incorporate green leasing to drive high-performance and healthy buildings. The new Platinum level was created in recognition of the increased support in the real estate sector for pursuing a more equitable and sustainable future.

HUD and DOE Launch Better Climate Challenge at Executive Roundtable Event

Better Climate Challenge U.S. Department of Energy Banner

On February 28, 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) held an Executive Roundtable to officially kick off the Better Climate Challenge, DOE’s newest initiative to promote the reduction of GHG emissions across the nation. At the virtual roundtable that included HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge and White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm highlighted the urgency of collective action to mitigate the impacts of climate change and support the communities most affected by it. The event welcomed the program’s inaugural partners, which include more than 90 organizations from the public and private sectors. Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, the first multifamily partner to pledge a GHG reduction goal within the Challenge, represented the multifamily housing sector during the question-and-answer session between Secretary Granholm and executive staff from several partner organizations.

Organizations that enroll in the Better Climate Challenge commit to reducing their Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions by 50 percent within 10 years, and in return receive:

  • Access to technical assistance coordinated by DOE and HUD
  • Peer-to-peer learning opportunities
  • Expertise of DOE’s National Labs

The goal of 50 percent emissions reductions reflects the urgency Secretary Granholm spoke of and builds on the successes of the Better Buildings Challenge, which asks organizations to improve their energy efficiency by 20 percent in 10 years. As of March 16, 2022, the Better Climate Challenge had 108 enrolled partners and allies.

Spotlight on Partner Successes

Rendering of Roosevelt Hall Community Center
  • Atlanta Housing completed a technically challenging adaptive reuse of the Roosevelt Hall Community Center (rendering pictured) that preserved the building’s historic assets while increasing water and energy efficiency. The project, which aims to achieve LEED Gold certification, was partly funded by a Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant and leveraged energy efficiency rebates from Georgia Power. The rehab effort also included a closely monitored rainwater collection and reuse system, which redirects the water towards irrigation and sewage conveyance. The project is expected to reduce energy consumption by 30 percent and total indoor and outdoor water use by 83 percent.
  • When the previous owner of Fort Chaplin Park Apartments, a 549-unit apartment community in Washington, D.C., decided to sell the building, the community’s residents formed a tenant association and exercised their Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) rights to assume the purchase contract. Standard Communities, a partner in both the Better Buildings Challenge and Better Climate Challenge, was selected as the development partner to acquire and renovate the property. Through a mix of funds that included D.C.’s Solar for All program and 4 percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) proceeds, the rehab project included:
    • A number of sustainability and energy efficiency features
    • The construction of a new LEED Silver community center
    • The installation of a 1.28 MW solar photovoltaic system
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This material is based upon work supported by funding under an award with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. Neither the United States Government, nor any of its employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately-owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the U.S. Government or any agency thereof. Opinions expressed on the HUD Exchange are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of, or a position that is endorsed by, HUD or by any HUD program.