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Four Multifamily Housing Partners Achieve Better Buildings Challenge Goal

A solar panel with green space and a city skyline in the background

By Les Shaver

These companies achieved 20 percent energy savings goal as part of the Better Buildings Challenge.

The U.S. Departments of Energy (DOE) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have recognized Mercy Housing, Corcoran Management, Preservation of Affordable Housing and Trinity Housing Corporation of Greeley for achieving their 20 percent energy savings goal as part of the Better Buildings Challenge, a voluntary leadership initiative that asks leading organizations from a variety of building sectors to make a public commitment to energy efficiency.

These four multifamily housing challenge partners serve a combined portfolio of more than 35,000 affordable and market-rate apartment homes in 415 communities nationwide. Their Better Buildings Challenge results:

  • Mercy Housing achieved 24 percent energy savings across its nationwide portfolio of 320 communities containing a total of 23,000 apartment homes. The company was able to leverage more than $6 million in rebates to implement more than 240 projects. To achieve its goals, Mercy Housing used innovative financing methods, including a pay-from-savings efficiency program, and started with pilots to develop proof of concepts before expanding to larger-scale implementation. It also built new communities to environmental standards and dedicated a staff team to efficiency and environmental duties. 
  • Corcoran Management attained 23 percent energy savings across its portfolio of 10 communities with 1,300 total apartments. The company invested in boiler and lighting upgrades throughout its communities and added smart thermostats to apartments. Corcoran also fostered a culture of efficiency and sustainability by training 80 percent of its staff in energy-efficiency principles.
  • Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) achieved 20 percent energy savings across its portfolio of 84 communities, totaling 11,000 apartments in 11 states and the District of Columbia. At the start of the challenge, POAH used its data platforms to establish analytical tools that prioritized energy and water projects in all of its communities, and educated its development team on effective energy and water strategies in new projects. POAH also created a web-based platform, Basis of Design, to establish material and energy-efficiency standards both across its existing portfolio and in projects under development. Targeting local and state incentives based on community needs provided more opportunities for retrofits. 
  • Trinity Housing Corporation of Greeley, based in Colorado, reaped 20 percent energy savings in just six years across its portfolio of 108 apartments. Trinity implemented whole-property LED and ultra-bright LED retrofits and installed temperature-limiting thermostats in the apartments. The company also upgraded to high-efficiency appliances and systems, increasing the comfort and quality of life for residents while saving energy and costs.As part of Better Buildings Challenge, HUD works with DOE to support multifamily housing sector partners, providing incentives and technical assistance for utility benchmarking and planning portfolio-wide investments in energy and water efficiency. Through this initiative, 92 multifamily housing partners have committed to reducing energy use in their communities by 20 percent in 10 years.