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Review of Energy Performance Contracts in Public Housing

Release Date: 
February 2020 (112 pages)
Posted Date:   
March 20, 2020

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has approved approximately 315 Energy Performance Contracts (EPCs) since the 1980s that have generated nearly $1.5 billion in energy efficiency investments affecting about 250,000 public housing units. EPCs have been executed in all ten HUD Regions and in Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) ranging from very small (fewer than 250 units) to very large (6,600 units or more). This study provides the first substantive review of the program’s performance and documents the effectiveness and value of HUD’s EPC program, based on an online survey administered to over 400 PHAs, telephone interviews with a subset of the responding PHAs, examination of HUD data about utility consumption and the financial and physical condition of PHAs, and an assessment of HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Program and its interaction with the EPC program. The evidence suggests that HUD’s EPC program is accomplishing one of its principal purposes of helping PHAs improve their units’ energy efficiency. Access to private capital through the RAD program, however, is reducing PHAs’ usage of EPCs. The report makes recommendations for supporting and maintaining the EPC program for PHAs who are not interested in RAD or are unable to take advantage of RAD.

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