October 19, 2023

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a $400,000 prize to Community Housing Partners (CHP), which provides affordable and sustainable housing throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, in a move towards enhancing energy efficiency and housing affordability in rural communities. This substantial prize is part of the DOE’s Buildings Upgrade Prize program, which recognizes and supports energy efficiency and efficient electrification building upgrade initiatives.  

The funds from this prize award will provide critical support for energy efficiency upgrades at CHP’s S.A. Robinson Apartments in Pembroke, Virginia. The apartment community recently received upgrades in the form of window replacements, and these prize funds will help complete the remaining phases of the three-phase renovation scope, with improvements including a new roof, replacement of all HVAC units, and replacement of lighting and water heaters. These upgrades will significantly enhance living conditions for the residents, reduce energy consumption, and lower associated costs, all while contributing to environmental sustainability. Through this retrofit, CHP also hopes to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of deep retrofit renovations in rural areas, allowing this type of work to be scaled across other CHP properties in southwest Virginia. 

“We are honored to receive this generous prize from the U.S. Department of Energy,” said Shaun Rai, CHP’s Senior Vice President of Multifamily Housing. “The improvements at S.A. Robinson Apartments, made possible by this prize, will be a shining example of energy efficiency and environmental responsibility in rural communities. Through this renovation, we are excited to create homes that not only lower energy costs for residents but also contribute to a cleaner, greener future for all.” 

The CHP Energy Solutions team will play a crucial role in the realization of these energy efficiency upgrades. This project represents a cross-departmental collaboration within CHP, bringing together various teams, including Energy Solutions, Asset Management, Property Management, Resident Services, IT, and Strategic Operations. Their collective efforts are geared toward developing a comprehensive approach for in-depth analysis and successful implementation of the planned improvements at S.A. Robinson.  

CHP has partnered with Sol Systems, a renowned national solar energy firm, to ensure the successful implementation of planned upgrades at S.A. Robinson Apartments, which was CHP’s first multifamily development and the first adaptive reuse approved in Virginia. Sol Systems has a track record of integrity and reliability across diverse sectors, including development, infrastructure, and environmental commodity businesses. The partnership between CHP and Sol Systems underscores their shared vision for a greener, more affordable housing landscape. (Read more about CHP’s partnership with Sol Systems.) 

“We are excited that CHP received the Buildings UP prize. We partnered with CHP in its efforts to alleviate the energy burden for the residents of the S.A. Robinson Apartments in Pembroke. We intend to maintain our collaboration with CHP and our other impact partners, to ensure ongoing investment in communities that risk being marginalized in the transition to clean energy. We commend CHP’s dedication to not only implementing building upgrades but also their steadfast commitment to long-term decarbonization,” said Adaora Ifebigh, Senior Director of Impact at Sol Systems. 

About the Buildings Upgrade Prize: 
The Buildings Upgrade Prize (Buildings UP) provides more than $22 million in cash prizes and technical assistance to support the transformation of existing U.S. buildings into more energy-efficient and clean energy-ready homes, commercial spaces, and communities. Buildings UP is an American-Made Challenge funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Office and administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.