WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is the recipient of the 2009 Galaxy Star of Energy Efficiency Award for significantly reducing energy consumption in public housing developments across the country. HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing Sandra Henriquez will accept the award this evening during a ceremony hosted by the Alliance to Save Energy.
HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) was selected for its aggressive effort to promote and improve energy management among public housing authorities nationwide. Since the launch of its energy conservation initiative in 2002, housing authorities have a combined annual savings of $103 million, while investing $570.8 million in energy resources nationwide.
“Secretary Donovan and I are thrilled that HUD is being recognized as a leader among federal agencies in creating a higher standard in energy efficiency,” said Henriquez, who heads HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing. “Today’s public housing stock is more energy efficient because of the hard work of local housing authorities who understand that saving energy not only saves money but improves the quality of life for their residents.”
HUD received the award for its Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) Program that is designed to encourage housing authorities to make energy efficiency improvements and reduce energy consumption. EPC utilizes an innovative financing technique that uses cost savings from reduced energy consumption to repay the cost of installing energy-efficient utilities and appliances, including ENERY STAR equipment. For every dollar invested in EPC, a housing authority is estimated to save two dollars in utility costs. Because of EPCs, housing authorities save approximately $103 million in annually.
Housing authorities that employ EPCs undergo a comprehensive energy audit on its developments. These audits reveal how much the housing authority will save from making certain upgrades including compact fluorescent lighting, kitchen and bathroom appliances, heating and cooling systems, insulation, and weatherproofing.
HUD’s HOPE VI program was also recognized for encouraging grantees to incorporate energy efficiency and sustainable designs to new developments. The HOPE VI program provides funding to housing authorizes to revitalize distressed public housing developments. New units are built to ENERGY STAR standards and incorporate the use of ENERGY STAR labeled products and some were built using the Green Communities and the Leadership in Environment and Energy Development (LEED) standards. In many local communities these grants helped increase public awareness in ENERGY STAR, other renewable energy systems, and water efficient products for their homes.
One HOPE VI success story includes Highland Gardens, a mid-rise apartment building in Milwaukee that boasts the nation’s largest residential “green” roof. Besides the aesthetic value, green roofs offer lower energy consumption, longer roof life, storm-water reduction, and improved air quality. The Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM) estimates that the roof will lower the building’s cooling costs by 12 percent and heating costs by 10 percent.
PIH’s 46 field offices also played a critical role in HUD ‘s energy initiatives. HUD’s field offices review and approve EPC projects and provide monitoring support for HOPE VI. Other energy conservation outreach efforts included PHA community meetings, state housing conferences, housing industry workshops and direct technical assistance to PHAs in support of energy and green initiatives.
For the past 17 years the Alliance to Save Energy has recognized organizations and companies for their efforts to promote energy efficiency. The Alliance is a coalition of prominent business, environmental and consumer leaders who promote the efficient and clean energy usage worldwide to benefit consumers, the environment, economy and national security.