Better Buildings Challenge Expands to Multifamily Housing

December 4, 2013

The U.S. Departments of Energy and Housing and Urban Development on December 3 expanded the Better Buildings Challenge to multifamily housing such as apartments and condominiums. The departments also launched the Better Buildings Accelerators to support efforts led by state and local governments to cut energy waste and eliminate market and technical barriers to greater building efficiency. The Obama Administration also announced that it will challenge federal agencies to further expand their use of performance-based contracts through 2016 to upgrade the energy efficiency of federal buildings.

President Obama pledged to expand the Better Buildings Challenge as part of his June 2013 Climate Action Plan, which laid out a series of steps to reduce carbon pollution, prepare the U.S. for the impacts of climate change and lead international efforts to address this global challenge. Industrial and commercial buildings account for about 50% of all energy use in the United States. Upgrading the energy efficiency of our homes and other buildings will save energy, save families and businesses money on utility bills and reduce pollution in our communities.

Through the Better Buildings Challenge, the Departments of Energy and Housing and Urban Development are partnering with market rate and affordable housing owners as well as public housing agencies to cut energy waste and help families save on their utility bills. Through the Challenge expansion, 50 multifamily partners—representing roughly 200,000 units and over 190 million square feet of floor space—have committed to cutting their energy use by 20% in ten years. See the list of multifamily housing organizations joining the Better Buildings Challenge.

The Energy Department also launched three new Better Buildings Accelerators to support and encourage ongoing efforts led by state and local governments to save money and energy. The three Better Buildings Accelerators announced include the Better Buildings Energy Data Accelerator, with more than 30 cities and utilities developing streamlined approaches to help building owners access whole-building energy use data; the Better Buildings Performance Contracting Accelerator, with 16 states, cities, and school districts entering into $1.2 billion worth of performance-based contracts, to drive economic development, utilize private sector innovation, and increase efficiency at minimum cost; and the Better Buildings Industrial Superior Energy Performance Accelerator, with nine U.S. manufacturers and utilities using a superior energy performance certification program to verify energy efficiency improvements and practices. See the Energy Department press release and the Better Buildings Challenge website.