Preservation of Affordable Housing: Energy performance

Energy Performance
Average Annual % Improvement3.3%

Better Buildings Challenge Partners commit to decrease portfolio-wide source energy use intensity (EUI) and to increase the percent improvement compared to a set baseline. Since 2010, Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) has improved their portfolio-wide energy performance by an average of 3.3% each year, which is equivalent to a cumulative improvement of 20%. POAH has decreased its energy usage by employing rigorous efficiency standards during new construction or major rehabs, with a particular focus on high-performance building enclosures, and by leveraging utility incentives and performance contracts for existing properties.  Recent major projects include a property producing most of its energy on-site, and multiple cold climate gas-heated properties using over 30% less gas.  POAH maintains efficient building performance across its portfolio through constant monitoring of utility data to identify and respond to energy usage trends and through its industry-leading Basis of Design tool, which ensures consistent use of energy efficient systems at each building.


Multifamily property owners often face challenges in gathering whole building data for properties with large numbers of individual tenant-paid utility accounts. Through the Better Buildings Challenge, partners can demonstrate progress towards their savings goal by reporting two types of data: (1) whole-building energy use, including tenant-paid utilities, for at least 30 percent of their portfolio; and (2) owner-paid receipts (common areas only) for the remaining share of their portfolio. POAH's portfolio consists of 80 properties and more than 7.9 million square feet and approximately 9,000 housing units, with whole-building data (both tenant-paid and owner-paid receipts) available for 47% of their portfolio.

Preservation of Affordable Housing

This graph breaks out the portfolio's energy performance for properties with whole building energy use vs those with owner-paid receipts.  POAH has achieved 3.1% savings in properties with whole-building data and 3.8% in properties with owner-paid receipts. 


Looking at the percent improvement in energy performance across all facilities can provide insight into how an organization is saving energy.  POAH has achieved energy performance improvement of greater than 15% at more than 40 of its properties. There are 5 properties that have experienced an increase in Source EUI.  These properties have been targeted for future energy efficiency improvements.


Property-level energy performance metrics, including EUI and percent improvement to date, are critical to track progress over time and identify opportunities for additional energy savings. POAH's portfolio consists of properties with a wide range of baseline EUI values, most of which are from 50 to 150 kBtu/sq. ft. The majority of properties have shown energy improvement since 2010. The properties located near or below the 0% axis may present good opportunities for further savings.