Public Housing Capital Investments in Energy and Water Conservation

On February 17, 2009, the President signed the Recovery Act. This legislation includes a $4 billion appropriation of Capital Funds to carry out capital and management activities for PHAs, as authorized under section 9 of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (“the 1937 Act”). The Recovery Act required that $3 billion of these funds be distributed as formula funds and the remaining $1 billion be distributed through a competitive process.

On May 7, 2009, HUD posted on its website its Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for HUD’s Recovery Act Capital Fund Recovery Competition (CFRC) grants. On June 3, 2009, HUD published a revised CFRC NOFA that made changes, corrections, and clarifications to a number of criteria established in the CFRC NOFA posted on May 7, 2009.

Approximately $623 million, of the $1 billion set aside for competitive grants, was used to facilitate transformational energy efficiency and “green” retrofits. These competitive grants, known as Category 4 Creation of an Energy Efficient, Green Community grants, where rated using a slightly modified version of the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria Checklist, ranked by score, and awarded to eligible PHAs. Of the hundreds of applications submitted, a total of 274 grants were awarded as outlined below:

  • 36 grants totaling nearly $300 million to PHA’s for Category 4, Option 1: Creation of Energy Efficient, Green Communities: Substantial Rehabilitation or New Construction

  • 238 grants totaling nearly $323 million to PHAs for Category 4, Option 2: Creation of Energy Efficient, Green Communities: Moderate Rehabilitation Grants

HUDs goal for these grants was to substantively increase energy efficiency and environmental performance of public housing properties and thereby reduce energy costs, generate resident and PHA energy savings, and reduce Green House Gas emissions attributable to energy consumption. A few examples of “green” retrofits for Category 4 grants would be: development of connections to neighborhoods and green space, surface water management techniques, improving efficiency of building envelope, installing high efficiency boilers/furnaces and/or HVAC systems, installing water conserving appliances and fixtures, utilizing Energy Star appliances and efficient lighting, meeting or exceeding Energy Star standards for new construction, utilizing building products with high a content of recycled materials, and incorporating renewable energy sources just to name a few.

PHAs have undertaken a variety of green initiatives, which helped produce benchmark projects that provide safe and healthy living environments, reduce utility costs for PHAs and residents, conserve of energy and materials, and utilize renewable energy resources where feasible. A description of common Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) can be found under “Other Resources.”

Several projects that showcase a variety of energy efficient measures, that were completed using Recovery Act grants, are described in reports found under “Featured Projects” on this page.


Featured Projects
Other Resources