HUD Pushes Energy Star to Promote Energy Efficiency in Multifamily Housing Sites

March 10, 2009
| Share | Print

The use of Energy Star equipment and techniques, and proper maintenance, can help to lower energy costs at public housing projects. And, a recent notice (PIH 2009-9 (HA)), issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is encouraging use of Energy Star products by Public Housing Agencies (PHAs).

Nationwide, for PHA fiscal years ending between September 30, 2007 and June 30, 2008, PHA-paid utilities totaled $1.60 billion annually, or 24 percent of the costs to operate public housing, according to the notice. It is estimated by the Office of Public Housing and Voucher Programs that $460 million in utility costs are paid by residents, which are paid indirectly by PHAs in the form of utility allowances that reduce resident rents.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires site owners or managers to use Energy Star products when replacing energy systems, devices or appliances, unless it is not cost-effective to do so. According to 24 CFR 965-306, “when purchasing original or, when needed, replacement equipment, PHAs shall acquire only equipment that meets or exceeds the minimum efficiency requirements established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In the operation of their facilities, PHAs shall follow operating practices directly related to maximize energy conservation.”

In accordance with 24 CFR 990, HUD has shifted its focus of the public housing program from the “agency” to the “projects.” That means that each project receives its own Utility Expense Level (UEL) and PHAs are required to maintain utility costs and consumption at the project level, which means measuring energy conservation on a project-by-project basis.

The HUD notice encourages PHAs to use the DOE’s Quantity Quotes website, http://quantityquotes.net, for procurement purchases above $2,000 and below $100,000. If at least three quotes are received using DOE’s Energy Star Quantity Quotes, then both the 24 CFR 85.3(d)(1) small purchase procedures and guidance provided in the Procurement Handbook 7460.8, Revision 2, paragraph 5.2 are satisfied. If less than three quotes are received using DOE quotes, then the PHA must supplement the difference with other quotes, which may include telephone quotes. If an agency procures centrally for Energy Star equipment over $100,000, then formal purchase procedures should be followed.

Questions concerning Notice PIH 2009-0 (HA) can be answered by calling (800) 955-2232. For Energy Star information for public housing, contact: Leroy Ferguson, HUD HQ Office of Public Housing Programs, at (202) 402-2411.