Better Buildings Challenge Multifamily Newsletter: May 2021

In This Issue:

Key Announcements

  • President Biden’s FY 2022 Discretionary Funding Request for HUD includes $800 million for energy efficient resilient retrofits of public and assisted housing. HUD-supported rental properties collectively provide 2.3 million affordable homes to low-income families. The $68.7 billion funding request, representing a $9 billion increase over the FY 2021 funding level, provides $800 million in new investments across HUD programs for modernization and rehabilitation aimed at energy efficiency and resilience to climate change impacts like increasingly frequent and severe wildfires and floods. The funding request also includes $3.2 billion for Public Housing modernization grants, an increase of $435 million above that program’s 2021 enacted level.

Apartment building rehabilitation

  • Check out this updated list of utilities providing customers with streamlined access to aggregate, whole-building data for benchmarking in ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®.

  • Join the Better Buildings Residential Network’s webinar, Low Income, Market Rate Residential Efficiency: Reaching the Hard to Reach on Thursday, May 13, 2021 at 1:00 PM EDT. Energy efficiency can be available for free in public housing, but low-income eligibility for market rate incentives or discounts can vary, leaving some working poor above eligibility thresholds and not poor enough for energy efficiency. What approaches are focusing on this hard-to-reach part of the population and what lessons have been learned?

Advancing Community Solar and Electrification in Multifamily Affordable Housing

Better Buildings, Better Plants 2021 Summit graphic

Community solar programs are taking off nationwide, creating utility savings that help multifamily affordable housing organizations better maintain their buildings, provide new resident services, and/or reduce individual residents' electricity bills.

Meanwhile, multifamily organizations are successfully navigating strategies to convert from gas to electricity in existing buildings and build all electric new construction, to achieve cost savings and combat climate change.

Learn from Better Buildings Challenge multifamily partners’ experiences with both innovations at this year’s virtual Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit, May 17 – 20, 2021. Choose the following sessions and browse others during registration. Register today for the Summit.

  • 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

  • A New Frontier: Electrification in Multifamily Housing
    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: Jordan Dentz, The Levy Partnership; Andy McNamara, Bright Power; Rory Christian and Edwin Mendez, NYCHA; Julie Klump, Preservation of Affordable Housing

  • Balancing the Benefits of Community Solar in Multifamily Housing
    Thursday, May 20, 2021, 2:00 – 3:15 PM EDT
    Multifamily housing providers and tenants can both benefit from the deployment of community solar projects. These projects can create direct electricity bill savings as well as indirect community or workforce benefits. Join the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Solar Energy Technologies Office, the National Renewable Energy Lab, and Better Buildings partners for a discussion about balancing the financial viability of solar projects with meaningful direct and/or indirect benefits to tenants. Multifamily housing providers will explore implementation pathways for various approaches and lessons learned from the field. The panel will be followed by a facilitated workshop where attendees will consider different approaches for balancing building owner and tenant benefits when designing community solar projects.
    Speakers: Jeffrey Cook, National Renewable Energy Lab; Ian Fischer, Urban Ingenuity; Kranti Malik, BRIDGE Housing Corporation; Andrew Martin, National Housing Trust; Nicole Steele, DOE; Christopher White, New York City Housing Authority

Spotlight on Partner Success

  • On Earth Day, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) announced substantial completion of 1.8 MW of rooftop solar arrays on 27 buildings across Queensbridge North and Queensbridge South Houses. This solar installation—the first in NYCHA’s solar program—is a key component of HUD’s Renew300 program and the NYCHA Sustainability Agenda commitment to host 25 MW of solar power by 2025, which will make it the largest community shared solar project in New York City.

People working on NYCHA solar panels

Solar panel installation at Queensbridge Houses

  • WinnCompanies recently completed the rehabilitation of the 100-year-old East Haven High School building in East Haven, Connecticut. After sitting vacant for over thirty years, the building underwent a $32 million historic adaptive reuse, creating 70 high efficiency housing units for seniors. Now called The Tyler, the building was designed and built to the Passive House EnerPHit standard, using a VRF system for heating and cooling, high-efficiency balanced ventilation with energy recovery, comprehensive exterior envelope insulation and air sealing, ENERGY STAR® appliances, LED lighting, and a 90 kW solar array. The project was a public-private partnership between WinnCompanies and the City of East Haven and Connecticut Housing Finance Agency, using federal and state historic tax credits, low-income housing tax credits, and a grant from the utility funded EnergizeCT Program.
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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.