New Developments: There is no better time than the present

3 min read

Frequent readers of my column know that energy and water efficiency is one of my professional passions and after getting my electric and propane bills this month, I took some of the lessons we have learned from our Preservation Through Energy Efficiency (PTEE) Road Shows and embarked on some winter efficiency measures and operations and maintenance at home, too.  There is nothing like the winter vortex to inspire action and I hope our readers will take some of the lessons and strategies we have highlighted in this month’s issue and put them into action.

It’s not just the cold weather and piling snow that should be grabbing your attention – there are actually some very exciting things happening in the efficiency world right now that should be inspiration enough for our readers. For example, at the end of January, HUD Secretary Julián Castro and California Governor Jerry Brown announced a series of actions to expand financing opportunities for both energy efficiency and solar retrofits in multifamily housing. Building on the state’s successful launch of the on-bill repayment (OBR) financing tool, the state, with support from HUD and the MacArthur Foundation, is now developing a pilot Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program for low-income multifamily properties. I hope that the launch of these two tools, which are already being embraced by the development community, will serve as a national model for other states and the private sector, unlocking millions of dollars in new capital and creating more data for programs that are financed out of future savings. Exciting stuff!

Later this spring, we will observe another exciting industry milestone, the rollout of the 2015 Enterprise Green Communities Criteria.  Last updated in 2011, the latest iteration will incorporate lessons learned from the latest green building developments and a mountain of data that, I believe, will serve as a catalyst  for more action in our community but also in local, state and federal policy. The new criteria will also be accompanied by new educational and training opportunities, conducted by Enterprise and other organizations, which will supplement NH&RA’s work through our PTEE Initiative.

I expect many other exciting developments in  our industry in the coming year. Next month we’ll be sharing the results from a study of our first four PTEE Road Shows, which we hope will inform our own efforts but also those of utility companies and advocates on how to better target future programs. And I anticipate many new and improved utility programs and policies across the country that support multifamily affordable housing retrofits by year’s end. A robust debate on utility allowances currently underway in the Network for Energy, Water and Health in Affordable Buildings could result in new activity and policy action, unlocking a powerful resource for retrofit finance. I hope this month’s TCA serves as inspiration to take a new look at efficiency opportunities, attend a PTEE Road Show and unlock the potential in your portfolio.