High-Performance Buildings
Overview

The High-Performance Buildings Team (HPBT) in OEE supports HUD’s program offices and provides assistance to HUD program offices, partners and grant recipients to advance high-performance building policies and practices in Public Housing and HUD-assisted and HUD-insured multifamily housing. This includes promoting best practices in lowering water and energy costs, improving disaster resilience, and ensuring investments in existing affordable multifamily housing improve both energy performance and resident health and comfort.

Multifamily Better Buildings Challenge

HPBT supports HUD’s partners through the Multifamily Better Buildings Challenge, a partnership with the Department of Energy that began in 2013 and includes almost 100 partner organizations with 712,000 housing units, including 553,000 units of public and assisted housing.

The Better Buildings Challenge is a voluntary leadership initiative that asks building owners and managers to make a public commitment to energy efficiency. Participating multifamily building owners and managers have committed to reducing energy consumption by at least 20 percent over 10 years. Better Buildings Challenge Multifamily Partners are leaders in market rate (unsubsidized) multifamily housing, Public Housing Authorities, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) properties, and HUD-assisted multifamily properties.

Energy Codes and Standards

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) requires HUD and USDA to jointly adopt the most recently-published energy codes for new construction, subject to a Determination of that such code adoption will not negatively impact the affordability and availability of the covered housing. HUD and USDA have published a Preliminary Determination for public comment on adopting the most recent editions of the energy codes – the 2021 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1-2019.  The Public Comment period has been extended until August 7, 2023.  

HUD-DOE Weatherization Partnership

The HUD-Department of Energy Weatherization Partnership resulted in a January 25, 2010 rule in partnership with HUD to streamline the use of Recovery Act weatherization funds in HUD-assisted buildings. Under the new rule at 10 CFR 440.22, Public Housing buildings and HUD-assisted multifamily buildings is identified by HUD and included on a list published by DOE meet DOE's weatherization program income requirements without the need for further evaluation or verification. They may also meet certain other program requirements.

December 2021 Update: In December 2021 DOE published new guidance providing for categorical income eligibility of HUD-assisted households for WAP funding. This will benefit low-income eligible households by removing the additional burden of applying for assistance and submitting the same documentation to multiple programs to receive comprehensive services.

Small Rural PHAs. List of qualified small rural PHA buildings is available here. These are buildings that are at least 66% ACC units and occupied (buildings with 5+ units), 50% ACC and occupied (buildings with 2-4 units) or 100% ACC units and occupied (single family units) as described in DOE Notice WPN 22-5. Contact energyaction@hud.gov for any questions about this list or further information about qualifying or applying for DOE’s weatherization assistance.

NOTE: The buildings on this list are income qualified for weatherization assistance; this means that the households in these properties are “categorically income eligible” for weatherization assistance and therefore do not have to requalify for income eligibility for weatherization assistance. However, this does not require DOE, state grantees or their subgrantees to provide weatherization funds to income-qualified public housing.  The state and/or the local weatherization provider retain the discretion and authority to set priorities for the use of weatherization funds. Local weatherization agencies may approve or disapprove applications for assistance based on funding availability, capacity to service multifamily housing, or other factors. PHAs with buildings on this list are advised to contact their local weatherization provider in order to determine funding availability, and/or local capacity to serve assisted multifamily or public housing.

Health@Home

The Health@Home High-Performance Housing Rehabilitation Guidelines were developed in order to enable affordable housing developers or owners to include Healthy Housing principles in their moderate rehabilitation or home repair programs. These housing rehabilitation guidelines focus on the health and well-being of residents by identifying rehab practices that minimize contaminants and injury-causing materials. They are organized around the eight widely accepted Principles of Healthy Homes plus a ninth principle, Healthy Living and Active Design:

  • Keep It Dry
  • Keep It Contaminant Free
  • Keep It Pest Free
  • Keep It Well Ventilated
  • Keep It Clean
  • Keep It Safe
  • Keep It Well Maintained
  • Keep It Thermally Controlled
  • Healthy Living and Active Design
Utility Data and Benchmarking

Utility benchmarking is imperative for building owners’ ability to track, analyze and ultimately reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Multifamily housing providers, particularly Public Housing Authorities and owners of HUD-assisted multifamily housing, face unique and idiosyncratic sets of barriers to effective benchmarking, including:

  • In properties with some types of subsidies, multiple split incentives leave little to no economic incentive for efficiency (tenant/owner, HUD/owner in HUD-assisted properties)
  • Difficulty collecting utility data from hundreds or thousands of individual tenant meters
  • Regulatory barriers to energy efficiency financing for owners of subsidized affordable housing
  • Difficulty training and retaining operations and maintenance workers
  • Lack of organizational capacity in affordable multifamily organizations that limits their ability to tackle all other challenges

In addition to providing technical assistance through the Multifamily Better Buildings Challenge, HPBT has developed a Multifamily Utility Benchmarking Toolkit with step-by-step guidance and resources to help organizations ramp up benchmarking across their portfolios.

In order to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas pollution, HUD must also be able to measure the performance of its portfolio, prioritize investments in energy and water conservation, and track savings over time. Under Goal 2 of HUD’s new Climate Action Plan, OEE will provide cross-agency coordination to ensure alignment between program office actions and the enterprise-wide data collection and analysis that are required to meet HUD’s greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Reports to Congress

HUD submits Reports to Congress pursuant to the requirements of the Energy Security and Independence Act of 2007. These reports provide updates on progress HUD is making towards its energy and green building goals, as well as when available updates on HUD's energy expenditures.

Other Resources

 

 

Content current as of October 12, 2023