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Energy and Resilience Forum

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Energy and Resilience Forum (Archived)

Proposed projects and ideas in this category most closely align to HUD's strategic plan goal 4: Build Strong, Resilient and Inclusive Communities. Housing and community development efforts must address a complex network of individual, social, economic, and environmental factors in order to promote more diverse, inclusive communities and improve the sustainability of housing, neighborhoods, communities, and regions. HUD seeks to establish affordable, life-enriching, and enduring living environments for many generations by responding wisely to diverse threats including natural disasters and a changing climate.

  • Understanding fair housing knowledge and compliance
  • Ensuring a coordinated federal response that reduces risk of disasters and supports community recovery;
  • Understanding energy efficiency and building technology innovations;
  • Best practices to enable green and healthy homes in the face of a changing environment.

Explore PD&R's current research and learn more about what we are already doing in this area:

What do you think are the most critical research questions that should be explored in relation to energy and resilience?

Posted By: eacocke
Posted On: Mon, 11/02/2015 - 13:03

What are the most effective demand-based strategies and incentives for reducing energy consumption in Public Housing?

The project will be undertaken in three phases: Phase I – identify and recruit a sample PHAs to participate in this study; Phase II – develop policies and recommended subsidy-related incentives to encourage participation in the initiative and energy efficiency; Phase III – implement and document the achieved savings resulting from the executed initiative.

Related Questions:
1. What elements should a demand-based engagement program have that lead to a reasonable expectation of changing behavior to achieve energy savings at various thresholds?
2. In master-metered PHAs, what demand-side incentives and education tools are effective in encouraging building-/development-wide behavioral change?
3. How can utility providers be involved in reducing per building or development costs to housing authorities? What incentives are there for utility providers to engage these types of activities?



Posted By: blair.d.russell
Posted On: Wed, 11/04/2015 - 11:55

Thank you for sharing your research suggestions. Your ideas posted in the forum have been noted and will be added to the list of projects under discussion as part of the Research Roadmap process. Please continue to post projects here as you develop them.
Blair Russell, HUD PD&R

Posted By: Dana Bartolomei
Posted On: Tue, 11/03/2015 - 18:52

Currently, there is little incentive for owners of HUD-assisted properties to invest in energy efficiency because the savings accrue to HUD (through a lower utility bill). In order to test a way to share savings, a study could be done similar to the Pay for Success bill. Pay for Success allows intermediaries to raise private capital and then work with energy service companies and others to make water and energy improvements at HUD-assisted properties. An independent third party would then verify energy and water usage reductions, and, if cost savings are realized, HUD would remit a portion of the savings to repay investors.



Posted By: blair.d.russell
Posted On: Wed, 11/04/2015 - 11:48

Thank you for sharing your research ideas with HUD. Both of your comments will be included in the discussion of future research priorities in the Department. Please continue to provide your insights as this process continues.
Blair Russell, HUD PD&R

Posted By: Dana Bartolomei
Posted On: Tue, 11/03/2015 - 18:44

It would be interesting to use a sample of building and calculate utility allowances based on the Public Housing Authority schedule, HUD model, energy-consumption model allowed by the housing finance agency, and actual consumption to compare allowances. The results of this study could have positive implications for multiple agencies:

1. The comparison would help HUD calibrate its model based on the comparison with actual consumption data.
2. The results could lead to policy changes by PHAs, who currently use estimates. PHA could begin to encourage project-specific utility allowances.
3. The results could lead to policy changes by the IRS. For example, the IRS could limit allowable utility allowance methods to project-specific utility allowances (either use of actuals or an ECM). It could also lead the IRS to issue minimum guidance on energy consumption models that HFAs can adopt (possibly following the HUD model).
4. Finally, in lieu of regulations by the IRS, HFAs could see the value of project-specific utility allowances and no longer allow utility allowances to be calculated using estimates.

Posted By: eacocke
Posted On: Mon, 11/02/2015 - 12:50

Primary Research Question: What are effective strategies to speed the planning and execution of the post-disaster assistance programs funded with CDBG-Disaster Recovery funds?

The project will be undertaken incrementally, initially through examination of past documentation of the CDBG-DR program. Subsequent efforts would include discussions with CDBG-DG grantees and others to identify areas that were particularly effective and those that were perceived as burdensome or time consuming. Following the information collection phase, the project would identify topics and strategies that are seen as having potential to streamline the process.

Related Questions:
1. What are the commonalities between state programs that have implemented CDBG-DR programs? How can those approaches work?
2. How can those commonalities be developed in a generic manner to support local adoption?
3. What CDBG-DR policies would need to be changed to support such approaches? What would the processes for change include?

Posted By: eacocke
Posted On: Mon, 11/02/2015 - 12:44

What are effective strategies to increase insurance coverage of residential properties?

The project will be undertaken incrementally, initially through examination of the available information on hazard insurance coverage and typical coverage requirements. The subsequent effort would identify strategies for legislative or regulatory approaches that would increase the rates of insurance uptake in communities at risk of natural disaster.

Related Questions:
1. What do we know about the insurance coverage in the communities at risk?
2. What is known about the requirements for homes to be insured against disaster risks?
3. What opportunities exist to increase the degree to which individual property owners are carrying adequate amounts of hazard insurance?

Posted By: eacocke
Posted On: Mon, 11/02/2015 - 12:59

Since the early 2000s, HUD has funded research for multiple tools that are used to estimate the savings and expenditures associated with the Department’s various energy-related initiatives related to its housing stock.

In February 2009, the Department disbursed approximately $4 billion to Public Housing Authorities and
In-house PD&R staff will analyze the comparative findings from these efforts and develop an information paper documenting the accuracy of the developed models.

Multifamily-assisted Housing Properties through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). These disbursed funds were provided to three programs: Public Housing Capital Fund (PHCF) – Competition, PHCF – Formula, and Green Retrofit Program (GRP) for Multifamily Housing. In support of the ARRA initiative, HUD executed the Green and Energy Retrofit Assessment (GERA) and Utility Consumption Baseline Analysis (UCBA) to estimate the resultant savings from the installed energy and water conservation measures installed within the public and multifamily-assisted housing stocks, respectively. At the conclusion of these two projects, the estimated energy savings from the respective models were compared against the achieved savings.

Approximately two-thirds (??) of the Department’s housing stock operates under the premise that utility expenditures are tenant paid. Under these administered programs, tenants are provided utility allowances (UAs) to cover the typical costs for utilities and services paid by of energy-conserving households. Currently, HUD regulations allow program administers to develop their UAs using any method that they deem fit, regardless as whether the provided UAs exceed the actual cost of the tenant utilities. To assist in generating sound-based UAs, PD&R developed the HUD Utility Schedule Model (HUSM), which uses correlation and regression techniques to develop allowances based upon unit type and size, geographic location, and type of utility used. In September 2015, HUD executed an extension to its existing Quality Control (QC) for Rental Assistance Subsidy Determinations study to determine the usefulness and accuracy of HUSM in determining utility schedules.

Posted By: eacocke
Posted On: Mon, 11/02/2015 - 12:56

How can HUD increase the effectiveness of the Department’s internal disaster response and recovery activities?

The project will be conduct a table top exercise for HUD leadership, in collaboration with the Office of Administration to examine approaches that could be implemented that would lead to improved performance in the aftermath of a disaster. This effort would remain sensitive to the incrementally, initially through examination of past documentation of the CDBG-DR program. Subsequent efforts would include discussions with CDBG-DG grantees and others to identify areas that were particularly effective and those that were perceived as burdensome or time consuming. Following the information collection phase, the project would identify topics and strategies that are seen as having potential to streamline the process.

Related Questions:
1. What are the core priorities for HUD in a post disaster environment?
2. How should HUD balance the needs of the HUD-assisted programs that were operation before the disaster with the needs of the larger community as a whole? How can the need for operational awareness be strengthened in the immediate aftermath of the disaster?
3. How can HUD strengthen the awareness and understanding of the response and recovery missions that may be necessary in the community? Are there any relevant exercises that could be used by HUD leadership?

Posted By: eacocke
Posted On: Mon, 11/02/2015 - 12:38

In FY2013 Bright Power was awarded a grant to study if energy benchmarking can deliver lower costs, higher quality utility reporting that can drive efficiency in public housing. In early 2016 Bright Power is expected to submit a series of recommendations to HUD for accomplishing energy benchmarking. The aim of this funded research effort will be to conduct a demonstration of these recommendations.

The Bright Power grant is evaluating benchmarking as an approach to Public Housing Authority (PHA) utility reporting. The main objectives are:
· Engage with stakeholders to understand the current utility reporting process, the 52722 forms and utility allowance calculations.
· Propose an alternative benchmarking approach for PHAs to report on utility costs.
· Evaluate both the current and alternative methods using a cost-benefit analysis framework. This will include quantitative analysis, such as costs and person-hours, as well as qualitative measures, such as ease of process and usability of results.

It is difficult at this stage to scope a set of tasks that represent the next steps for current work. Benchmarking can be a very important tool to reduce energy consumption in the HUD assisted community as such it is absolutely imperative that this work be continued.

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