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Better Buildings Challenge Accepted!

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In 2013, CHP committed to reduce energy usage across its multifamily housing portfolio by 20 percent by 2020 in response to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Housing’s Better Buildings Multifamily Challenge.  

CHP was one of the first multifamily housing providers to accept the challenge and, in 2014, began the process of establishing an energy benchmarking protocol that includes monitoring and reducing the energy use at 5,500 multifamily housing units owned by the organization in Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Florida. 

Because this complex undertaking requires the collection and management of large quantities of data, CHP began registering its multifamily rental communities with the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, an online tool for measuring and tracking energy use in apartment common areas and master-metered properties where a single utility meter is used to gauge usage of multiple residences. Going forward, experts with CHP Energy Solutions will monitor the data and prescribe and perform recommended building improvements as necessary.

“We hope that by collecting this data, opportunities to further reduce energy consumption will come to light and we will be able to identify targets for building improvements or additional conservation programs,” said CHP Building Energy Specialist Benjamin Knopp. 

CHP also launched a new tenant engagement program called CHP SMART (Saving Money and Resources Together) Homes that seeks to reduce energy use through behavioral changes in residents.The program, which was rolled out to three CHP multi-family communities this past summer, takes a variety of approaches to help residents reduce energy use and create healthier living environments. Tenants learn about the program when they sign their lease and are asked to watch a short informational video as an introduction to the program and its goals. They are also able to participate in video-based educational programs created by CHP, receive walk-through evaluations of their apartments from CHP SMART Homes’ advisors that provide energy-saving advice specific to their home, earn rewards by participating in energy-savings challenges and contests with other CHP rental communities, and receive the CHP SMART Homes official certification of their apartment if they complete the educational program. Additionally, CHP SMART Homes offers unique children's programming, including after-school energy education tutorials and activities and a series of puppet shows designed to make energy conservation fun and interesting to younger residents.

“Ultimately, the Better Buildings Multifamily Challenge benefits not only CHP from a cost-savings and maintenance perspective, but helps our tenants reduce their utility costs and enjoy healthier, more comfortable homes and communities,” explained Knopp.

About the Better Buildings Challenge

Launched in December of 2011 by President Obama, the Better Buildings Initiative takes a broad multi-strategy approach to accelerate energy savings through leadership, innovation, partnerships and demonstrated best practices.  The Better Buildings Challenge is the central leadership initiative through which organizations of all types—local and state governments, schools, business, and manufacturers—commit to portfolio-wide energy savings goals and to share successful strategies that help achieve these goals and overcome financial and technical barriers in the marketplace. Utilities and financial firms also commit to focus resources on building improvements.

As part of the Better Buildings Challenge, DOE and the HUD are partnering with leading private and affordable buildings owners and public housing agencies to cut energy waste and help families save money. Statistics show that about a quarter of U.S. households live in multi-family housing units and spend about $40 billion on energy costs each year. Making these housing units 20 percent more energy efficient would save more than $7 billion per year and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 430 million tons.

Better Building Challenge multi-family Partners are leaders in market rate multi-family housing, public housing authorities, and affordable housing.  Visit www.eere.energy.gov/challenge for more information on the organizations participating in the Better Buildings Challenge for multi-family housing and a detailed description of their commitments.