DEC 3, 2013 12:33pm ET

HUD Expands Energy Efficient Challenge to Multifamily Housing

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The Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Energy have expanded their challenge to turn energy efficient multifamily housing such as apartments and condominiums financed through funding that includes $2 billion in private sector commitments.

Energy efficiency updates to commercial buildings will be conducted under the Obama administration’s Better Buildings Challenge and the new Better Buildings Accelerators program designed to support state- and local government-led efforts to reduce energy waste and install new technology that helps increase building efficiency.

Alongside the Better Buildings Initiative the Obama administration plans to challenge federal agencies “to further expand their use of performance-based contracts through 2016” in an effort to upgrade the energy efficiency of federal buildings “at no cost to taxpayers.”

By partnering with the multifamily housing industry as well as state and local governments, utilities and manufacturers, that will help continue the nation’s progress in “cutting carbon pollution, fostering economic growth and building a cleaner, more sustainable energy future,” says Energy secretary Ernest Moniz.

The expansion of the Better Buildings Challenge to include multifamily housing has been well received by the industry. More than 50 multifamily owners nationwide who see this effort as “an opportunity to reduce long-term energy costs, support innovative technologies, create good jobs, and help shape healthier communities and neighborhoods,” have committed to the initiative, says HUD secretary Shaun Donovan.

The expansion of the program, which was launched in February 2011, “will ensure that the federal government continues to do its part to save energy,” says Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and one of the easiest ways developers can save money.

The Better Buildings Challenge aims to turn commercial and industrial buildings to become at least 20% more energy efficient by 2020. More than 120 diverse organizations are already on track to meet the 2020 goal of cutting energy use by an average 2.5% annually, valued at about $58 million in energy savings each year.

Federal agencies have since committed to a pipeline of about $2.3 billion in projects.

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