Cambridge Housing Authority Exceeds Energy Savings Goal

By Better Buildings Beat Team on Aug 15, 2019

Since becoming a Better Buildings Challenge partner in 2016, Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) has demonstrated impressive energy efficiency leadership across its 2.4 million-square foot portfolio of affordable housing for low-income individuals and families.

As one of 105 multifamily housing organizations across the country to make the Better Buildings Challenge pledge, CHA is a 2019 Better Buildings, Better Plants Goal Achiever, having achieved 23% energy savings in just four years (from a 2014 baseline).

Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, CHA has implemented energy-efficient improvements throughout its 29 developments, including building envelope improvements, LED lighting retrofits, water savings, and onsite energy generation.

Among CHA’s most notable efficiency projects is the Frank J. Manning Apartments, a Better Buildings Showcase Project. In 2016, CHA introduced a number of efficiency measures that reduced the property’s energy intensity by 60% from a 2014 baseline, equivalent to an annual cost savings of over $350,000.

Built in 1976, the 19-story concrete high-rise in Cambridge’s Central Square neighborhood had become subject to leaks, drafts, and negative pressure, causing significant energy loss through the building’s exterior. To help mitigate increasing energy loss and to improve operational efficiency, CHA installed a CHP cogeneration system, a new condensing gas plant and chiller, as well as water and lighting upgrades throughout the property. CHA also modernized the building’s immediate surroundings, renovating a small park and creating a building entrance canopy and semi-circular driveway to allow for resident drop off and pick-up.

In addition to meeting its Challenge goal six years ahead of schedule, CHA has worked to incorporate Enterprise Green Communities criteria in its work. These criteria aim to “bring the improved health, economic and environmental benefits of sustainable construction practices to low-income families.”*

To learn more about CHA’s efforts as a Better Buildings partner, check out their partner profile.

*Source: Enterprise Green Communities