Image courtesy of Denver Housing Authority.
HUD has a portfolio of 4.5 million public and assisted housing units (including 2.2 million market-rate apartments occupied by Housing Choice Voucher households) and plays a key role in the development and preservation of affordable housing. HUD’s annual outlays on utilities in this portfolio (primarily subsidizing energy and water costs for both property owners and tenants) account for as much as 14 percent of the agency’s total budget and consume enough on-site energy to produce an estimated 13.6 million metric tons of carbon emissions annually.
2126 Mapes, The Bronx. Courtesy of Phius.
In order to meet the Administration’s goal of lowering economy-wide net greenhouse gas pollution by 50 to 52 percent by 2030, HUD must significantly improve the energy performance of HUD-assisted and FHA-insured assets while scaling up deployment of renewable energy.
- HUD will increase investments in climate and energy retrofits of existing housing, incentivizing green building design in new construction, and proactively advancing climate mitigation and adaptation strategies across HUD programs. In addition to spurring significant reductions in carbon emissions associated with public and assisted housing, these actions will advance economic equity by reducing utility costs for HUD-assisted and FHA-insured stakeholders and creating green job opportunities in disadvantaged communities.
- HUD will explore ways to incentivize communities to implement land use changes that allow for denser, transit-oriented housing development that reduces households’ reliance on cars, by far the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector, which is itself the greatest contributor to economy-wide emissions since surpassing the electricity generation sector in 2017. At the same time, these land use changes directly address exclusionary policies that have resulted limited access to economic and educational opportunity and elevated exposure to environmental and health hazards for low-income families and communities of color.
Under the Climate Action Plan, HUD will move its portfolio of public and assisted housing and communities across the country toward a decarbonized future by
- Assessing current utility data collection and analysis processes and taking steps toward benchmarking HUD’s entire portfolio;
- Providing new data products and data analysis to help programs and grantees better understand their utility consumption and find energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities nationwide;
- Strengthening green building standards and updating minimum new construction standards for HUD-assisted or insured projects and manufactured housing;
- Taking every opportunity to equitably shift incentives toward energy- and water-saving investments;
- Providing training and educational resources to increase utilization of existing incentives for energy efficiency and resilience improvements among grantees, borrowers, and other program beneficiaries; and
- Partnering with the Department of Energy on new strategies and solutions to help HUD grantees overcome unique barriers to energy and water conservation in the affordable multifamily portfolio.
Featured decarbonization resources:
- Better Buildings Challenge Multifamily Sector
- Better Buildings Solution Center – Multifamily Sector
- Better Climate Challenge – Three multifamily partners – King County Housing Authority, Community Housing Partners, and Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation – have pledged to reduce their portfolio-wide carbon emissions by 50% through 2030
- Renew300: Advancing Renewable Energy in Affordable Housing