Several NMHC/NAA member firms were invited to the White House last
week for a roundtable discussion with representatives from the
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Environmental
Protection Agency, the Department of Energy and the White House Council
on Environmental Quality to discuss extending the Obama Administration’s
Better Building Challenge (BBC) to the multifamily sector.
Apartment firms that choose to join the BBC partnership, which is already underway in the commercial and industrial sectors, are required to develop an organization-wide plan with a schedule and milestones for achieving a 20 percent reduction in energy consumption across their portfolios in a decade; participants also would showcase how they improved energy performance on a particular property and commit to periodic reporting and information sharing with other participants.
At the meeting, industry participants agreed that energy conservation and utility management are key elements of property management, although participants raised several concerns. Chief among them were the inability to obtain whole building consumption data in most areas of the country, the fact that portfolios are not static for a decade, the lack of effective educational tools to improve resident/consumer awareness of energy efficient behaviors and concern that the 20 percent increment may not be feasible as an across-the-board target based on the specific technical building considerations and an owner’s ability to access capital for this purpose.
This meeting was the first in what is expected to be an ongoing dialogue with the Obama Administration. Members who are interested in learning more about the program or participating can find additional information at http://www4.eere.energy.gov/challenge/home.