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The multifamily housing sector offers unique opportunities for decarbonization over the next decade. Thirty-six percent of U.S. households now rent, and more than 60% of the rental market is in multifamily buildings, accounting for 27 million households. Uptake of energy efficiency measures in multifamily housing has lagged other types of housing, leaving significant unrealized energy savings on the table. Those savings can be captured with deep energy retrofits and renewable energy upgrades, which increases affordability for residents while in the long term helping preserve affordable housing by lowering operating expenses.

2023 Better Buildings Progress Report

To date, 900+ Better Buildings, Better Plants partners have saved more than 3.1 quadrillion Btu, saving more than $18.5 billion and 189 million metric tons of CO2.

Multifamily COVID-19 Resources

Dealing with COVID-19 presents an unprecedented scenario for multifamily housing providers. The Better Buildings Multifamily Team has compiled a list of resources to support housing providers and help them disseminate critical information to staff and residents.

Utility Benchmarking

This comprehensive guide to multifamily utility benchmarking includes links to key resources and requirements, tools and reports, case studies, and FAQs.

Other Resources

Implementation Model

Foundation Communities: Water Consumption Monitoring System Implementation Model

In an effort to conserve water and reduce costs for both the company and the residents, Foundation Communities invested in a 3-year AmeriCorps VISTA project through NeighborWorks America to develop a water consumption monitoring system and resident education program.

Tampa Housing Authority Strengthens the Local Workforce Through Energy Efficiency Education Implementation Model

Tampa Housing Authority (THA) incorporates resident education and training to strengthen the local workforce and maximize results of newly invested energy efficiency technologies, helping the city reach energy reduction goals.

Cleveland Housing Authority: Implementing an Energy Performance Contract in Public Housing Implementation Model

A lack of finances prevented retrofits on a portfolio-wide scale as well as the capacity needed to work with all partners involved. CHA applied for HUD’s Energy Performance Contracting program, which allows PHAs to partner with an ESCO to perform energy- and water-saving upgrades. The upgrades resulted in over $480,000 in cost savings to residents.

Cuyahoga MHA Creates a Pipeline of Green Jobs, Connecting Residents to Energy Efficiency Implementation Model

Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) is leveraging new and existing partnerships to increase energy literacy and STEM education of its residents, helping to strengthen the local workforce and create jobs for residents.

The City and County of Denver HA Overcomes Resource Scarcity and Trains Workforce through New Partnerships Implementation Model

The Housing Authority of the City and County of Denver (DHA) joined the SEED pilot program in 2014 to prepare public housing residents for technical jobs by increasing energy literacy, providing learning opportunities, and connecting residents to training so they may pursue energy careers.

POAH: Utilizing Basis of Design to Ensure Consistent Use of Energy Efficient Materials Implementation Model

Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) used a Basis of Design (BOD) tool to set requirements for quality materials and efficient system design to be implemented during development and maintenance of properties across their portfolio. This resulted in lower energy and water costs, improved maintenance procedures, and cost savings in bulk purchasing.

Palatka Housing Authority: Improving Quality-of-Life for Residents with Energy Performance Contracting Implementation Model

Palatka Housing Authority employed Energy Performance Contracting to make quality-of-life improvements that "pay for themselves" through energy and water savings while enhancing the homes of residents.

Hempstead Housing Authority Used Health Survey to Identify Impacts of Weatherization Building Improvements Implementation Model

Hempstead Housing Authority collaborated with community stakeholders and public health services to measure the impact of weatherization upgrades by using pre- and post-weatherization tenant health surveys.

Tampa Housing Authority's Approach for Ongoing Utility Benchmarking Implementation Model

Tampa Housing Authority successfully created a utility data sharing protocol and a process for regularly uploding property data into ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to better manage energy performance across its 3.2 million square feet of multifamily housing.

Rockford Housing Authority Developed a Resident Program to Create a Culture of Energy Efficiency Implementation Model

Rockford Housing Authority developed a program, modeled on SEED, to create a culture of energy efficiency through different types of resident programming; as a result residents consume less energy and are better prepared for STEM-related careers.

Trinity Management Trains On-Site Staff in Energy Benchmarking to Increase Engagement Implementation Model

Trinity Management hired a third-party benchmarking provider and trained property managers to monitor energy consumption at their sites, engaging staff and supporting the company's effort to reduce portfolio-wide energy consumption.

Incentivizing Energy Conservation through Resident Engagement and Utility Allowances: Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation Implementation Model

Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation worked with residents to achieve energy savings by implementing physical building upgrades as well as resident education to establish a baseline for utility allowance and transition utility bills to residents.

Lucas MHA Partners with Software Provider to Obtain Continuous Energy Monitoring Implementation Model

Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority (Lucas MHA) partnered with a third-party software provider to obtain in-depth energy data and continuous monitoring of energy performance for approximately 2.3 million square feet of affordable housing.

Wishrock Investment Group Conducts On-Site Energy Audits Utilizing the EZ Retrofit Tool Implementation Model

Wishrock Investment Group leveraged the EZ Retrofit Assessment Tool to identify cost effective energy upgrades and create a utility efficiency action plan resulting in improvements at 4 facilities.

Manhattan Housing Authority: Navigating a Complex Regulatory Environment Implementation Model

MHA successfully navigated HUD’s rules to secure more than $8 million for the rehabilitation of Apartment Towers.

National Church Residences: Process Standardization for Housing Portfolio LED Retrofits Implementation Model

National Church Residences standardized procedures and eligibility criteria for a portfolio wide lighting retrofit.

Jonathan Rose Companies: Implementing Portfolio-wide Resilience Assessments for Affordable Housing Implementation Model

Using tools and resources from peers and partners, Jonathan Rose Companies is conducting detailed property resilience assessments and incorporating recommended measures into its retrofit and capital improvements strategy.


Getting to 100%: Overcoming Barriers to Tenant Data Collection 2019 Better Buildings Summit, Presentation

In this session, multifamily partners presented innovative, outside-the-box strategies for collecting tenant energy consumption data, ranging from how to obtain tenant consent for sharing data to embarking on a portfolio-wide campaign to collect 100% whole property data.

Showcase Project

REACH Community Development Corporation: Westshore Apartments Showcase Project

REACH Community Development Corporation partnered with MPower to invest $280,000 in upgrades at its Westshore Apartments property including LED lighting, occupancy sensors, and improved insulation, achieving 14% annual energy savings.

Philadelphia Housing Authority Headquarters Building Showcase Project

The Philadelphia Housing Authority's new headquarters is designed for high performance and to achieve 30% energy savings and LEED-NC certification.

Mercy Housing: 205 Jones Street Apartments in San Francisco Showcase Project

Mercy Housing reduced energy use by more than 20% at its 50-unit affordable housing property 205 Jones Street by implementing several energy efficiency measures including switching to electric heat pumps, installing LED lighting, improving insulation, and upgrading to ENERGY STAR® appliances.

Danville Development: Union Gardens Showcase Project

Danville Development conducted upgrades to this low-income senior community to improve both the property's energy performance and residents' quality of life. The measures reduced energy use by 23% and saved over $15,000 annually.

EBALDC: Casa Arabella Showcase Project

Casa Arabella, a 94-unit affordable housing apartment community from East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC), was designed to exceed California’s Title 24 energy code by 13% and to achieve an 18% energy savings above ASHRAE standards.

Boston Housing Authority: St. Botolph Apartments Showcase Project

Boston Housing Authority used finance upgrades under a Rental Assistance Demonstration conversion to achieve a 30% energy savings at the St. Botolph Apartments.

Cambridge Housing Authority: Frank J. Manning Apartments Showcase Project

Cambridge Housing Authority achieved 60% energy savings at the Frank J. Manning Apartments, a public housing high-rise, by upgrading the building envelope and windows and installing LED lighting, a CHP cogeneration system, and a condensing gas plant and chiller.

Eden Housing: Camphora Apartments Showcase Project

Eden Housing constructed the 44-unit low-rise Camphora Apartments in 2016, achieving net-zero electricity and LEED-H Platinum certified affordable housing status for performing 80% more efficiently than the state energy code.

Community Roots Housing: Brewster Apartments Showcase Project

Community Roots Housing's Brewster Apartments, in Seattle, is a 1916-era multifamily building that improved energy performance by 26% with building envelope upgrades and air source heat pumps.

Island Grove Village Showcase Project

Trinity Housing developed a long-range plan to reduce their overall energy and water consumption through a variety of funding sources, resulting in 20% energy savings and 18% water savings.

BRIDGE Housing: Copper Creek Apartments Common Area Retrofit Showcase Project

BRIDGE Housing upgraded common areas to more energy-efficient spaces with retrofits to lighting, plug loads, and more. These cost-saving measures replaced outdated, inefficient equipment and reduced electricity consumption.

Schochet Companies: Shepherd Park Apartments Showcase Project

Schochet Companies implemented efficiency upgrades at Shepherd Park Apartments in Hartford, Connecticut, including boiler upgrades, replacement of hot water circulation pumps, unit air sealing, lighting upgrades, and water conservation measures. It also received over $170,000 through a local utility incentive program.

JPNDC: Julia Martin House Showcase Project

Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) in Massachusetts partnered with Peabody and the state's Low-Income Energy Affordability Network (LEAN) to upgrade the boilers, lighting, and irrigation, achieving 18% energy savings.

NHP Foundation: Bayview Towers Showcase Project

Bayview Towers is a 200-unit affordable apartment complex in Stamford, Connecticut. Significant renovations by The NHP Foundation included a comprehensive boiler upgrade and an expected 25% in energy savings.

Jonathan Rose Companies: Court Tower Apartments Showcase Project

With the help of a HUD RAD conversion, Court Tower Apartments in downtown Newark, New Jersey, funded an $8 million rehabilitation project that included numerous energy efficiency upgrades for 30% energy savings.

CSNDC Targets Washington Columbia #1 and #2 for Energy-Efficient Upgrades Showcase Project

Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation (CSNDC) reduced energy use by nearly 20% after implementing energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades at Washington Columbia #1 an #2, adjacent affordable housing properties in Dorchester, Massachusetts.

Atlantic Gardens Apartments Showcase Project

Atlantic Gardens, a 108-unit affordable housing community built in 1948, underwent a renovation that yielded 28% energy savings and 19% water savings. 


Maximizing Performance in Affordable Housing New Construction Webinar

This 2020 Summit session spotlighted different pathways to maximize energy performance in new construction while overcoming typical challenges that affordable housing developers face.

Made to Fit: How Paid-From-Savings Projects Can Work for Small Organizations, Too Webinar

This webinar highlighted how to seek out technical experts and financing options for saving energy and water while protecting your interests.

Multifamily Sector Meet-Up Webinar

At the 2020 Summit, Better Buildings Challenge Multifamily partners and other stakeholders shared best practices and discussed strategies for multifamily housing providers to save energy and water and preserve affordable housing.

Multifamily Financing Roundtable: Financing Affordable Housing Retrofits Webinar

Energy and water efficiency upgrades in affordable multifamily housing can reduce owners' operating costs and tenants' utility bills while improving resident health and comfort. This highly interactive 2020 Summit session examined current opportunities and challenges around financing efficiency upgrades in affordable multifamily housing.

Roadmap to 20% Energy Savings: A Quantitative Tool to Plan Your Strategy Webinar

This webinar demonstrated the use of a planning tool developed by Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) that helps you create a strategy for reaching energy or water reduction targets for your portfolio, sort through different conservations options, and make informed choices that demonstrate to decision-makers a concrete path to success.

Tackle Energy Efficiency/Indoor Air Quality Together: Best Practices in Multifamily Housing Upgrades Webinar

Interested in taking a proactive approach to protecting indoor air quality (IAQ) while boosting energy efficiency in your multifamily building? This webinar will take you through the steps of getting started.