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HABC named as an inaugural partner of President Obama's Better Buildings Challenge

(Washington, DC – December 6, 2013) Earlier this week, at the White House Better Buildings Challenge Conference, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the expansion of President Barack Obama’s Better Buildings Challenge to include multifamily housing. The DOE and HUD recognized the energy efficiency commitment that the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) and a group of other multifamily housing operators nationwide are making as a Better Buildings Challenge Partner.

In his recent Climate Action Plan, President Obama called for leading multifamily housing owners to join the Better Buildings Challenge. As part of the Better Buildings Challenge, multifamily partners commit to cutting energy use in their buildings portfolio-wide, by 20 percent within ten years.

These leaders also broadly share successful strategies that maximize energy efficiency in multifamily housing, contributing actual energy data to verify the energy savings of implemented energy upgrades. Through the Better Buildings Challenge expansion that was announced, 50 multifamily partners – representing roughly 200,000 units and over 190 million square feet – have committed to cutting their energy use by 20 percent in ten years.

“Partners in the Better Buildings Challenge are leading by example, demonstrating their commitment to providing more efficient and comfortable homes for their tenants that save money and energy,” said Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman. “We applaud these partners for joining in this leadership initiative and we look forward to working with them as they make their communities more energy efficient and foster greater economic growth.”

“By committing to the energy efficiency goals of the Better Buildings Challenge, HABC has taken a significant step towards reducing long term energy costs, supporting innovative technologies, and creating good jobs,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “Working together, we will increase housing affordability for owners and residents and foster healthier communities and neighborhoods.”

HABC has already implemented several energy conservation initiatives including greening and sustainability practices at its various properties, ensuring the use of EnergyStar appliances and tools and most notably, undertaking a massive Energy Performance Contract initiative at five of its major sites. Through efforts to date, HABC has reduced its annual utility costs by $6 million.

“Being an inaugural partner with President Obama’s Better Building Challenge is an incredible honor and gives us the opportunity to build on our prior success,” says Paul Graziano, Executive Director. “We are successful because of the partnership with our residents. The more we engage our residents and educate them on the importance of conserving both energy and water, the more we save on overall utility bills and can invest in our public housing. It is a win-win for all: our residents, our communities, and our environment."

Information on Better Buildings Challenge:
About a quarter of U.S. households live in multifamily 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. 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.

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

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.

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