DC Department of Energy and Environment Launches Nation’s First Multifamily Housing Resilience Tool to Support Preservation of Capital’s Affordable Housing Stock

Funding from Department of Energy and Environment granted to Enterprise Community Partners, working in partnership with New Ecology, Inc., the National Housing Trust and Clean Energy Group

WASHINGTON D.C. – Dec. 14, 2017 – Soon, affordable housing owners in the District of Columbia will have new tools to promote resilience and resource conservation in their buildings. Through funding from the District’s Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) Solar for All program, Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise) announced today that it has assembled a new team of advisors with New Ecology, Inc., the National Housing Trust and Clean Energy Group to develop a vulnerability and resilience opportunity assessment tool for affordable housing owners to promote sustainability and resilience in their properties. The project will advance the goals of Climate Ready DC, the DC’s plan to prepare for the impacts of climate change including heatwaves, flooding, and severe storms.

The program seeks to influence the broader affordable housing sector to design, develop and operate climate-resilient, energy-efficient and solar-ready homes. Nearly 19 million families nationwide are housing insecure, either homeless or paying more than half of their monthly income on housing, and climate change aggravates an already short supply of affordable housing.   Enterprise believes that this program will help catalyze the affordable housing industry in the District and around the nation to strategically integrate resilience planning in their development, operations, and preservation plans.  

“The need for more resilient building design to preserve our short supply of affordable housing has intensified in the wake of recent hurricanes and fires that have damaged communities nationwide,” said Laurie Schoeman, national program director of resilience initiatives at Enterprise. “As part of our work at Enterprise to future-proof communities through resilient design and development, we aim to help 

developers and owners of affordable housing better understand and address their own vulnerabilities early on, mitigating damage in the long run and protecting communities nationwide from risks of extreme weather.”

Over the course of one year, the generous funding from DOEE will support Enterprise’s work, enabling the organization and its partners to:

  1. Create a Resilience and Solar Assessment Tool to assess the vulnerability of affordable housing properties to the impacts of climate change identified by Climate Ready DC and identify potential resilience upgrade opportunities, including the installation of solar photovoltaic arrays with battery storage systems.  
  2. Conduct resilience assessments of targeted affordable housing properties. In partnership with DOEE, Enterprise will identify at least 20 properties to assess using the tool and will share reports with property owners in a dedicated counseling session.

The vulnerability assessment and resilience audit tool will help DC achieve its goals of increasing the climate resilience of affordable housing properties, reducing energy use, cutting energy bills, and increasing solar power. 

“By supporting development of this tool, the District of Columbia is positioning itself as a national municipal leader in making affordable housing more resilient with innovative clean energy and efficiency strategies,” said Lewis Milford, founder and president of Clean Energy Group. “We hope this effort starts a national trend among cities to explore how solar and storage can reduce costs and improve the safety of affordable housing.”

“DC is excited to work with Enterprise and their partners on this critical initiative to help prepare our affordable housing for the impacts of climate change,” said DOEE Director Tommy Wells. “By focusing on the resilience of affordable housing, we are fulfilling Climate Ready DC’s promise to address the risks that heatwaves, flooding, and severe storms poses for our most economically and physically vulnerable residents. And, by identifying opportunities to use solar and battery storage to provide clean, resilient, power, we are working towards our Solar for All goals to cut utility bills and help keep housing affordable.”  

Ed Connelly, President, New Ecology, Inc.: “Climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of extreme storms, exacerbating droughts, shifting precipitation patterns, and causing more extreme heat waves, the impacts of which are felt disproportionately by our most vulnerable populations.  Resilience planning provides tangible and intangible benefits such as safety, improved health outcomes, comfort, cost savings, and durability.  This tool will bring resilience benefits to the residents of affordable multifamily housing in the District.”

“As affordable housing owners, we understand that natural disasters disproportionately impact low-income communities. Decades of disrepair and disinvestment in our low-income communities has made them vulnerable to extreme weather events. As such, we at the National Housing Trust are very focused on working with our colleagues and the D.C. government to develop new tools to make our low income communities more resilient and safer.” – Jared Lang, Assistant Vice-President, Sustainability, National Housing Trust Enterprise Preservation Corporation


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Enterprise is a proven and powerful nonprofit that improves communities and people’s lives by making well-designed homes affordable. We bring together the nationwide know-how, partners, policy leadership and investments to multiply the impact of local affordable housing development. Over 35 years, Enterprise has created nearly 470,000 homes, invested $28.9 billion and touched millions of lives. 

Clean Energy Group is a leading national, nonprofit advocacy organization working on innovative technology, finance, and policy programs in the areas of clean energy and climate change. Clean Energy Group also manages the Clean Energy States Alliance, a coalition of state and municipal clean energy funds. The Resilient Power Project, a joint initiative of Clean Energy Group and Meridian Institute, is designed to help cities, states and municipalities with program and policy information, analysis, financial tools, technical assistance, and best practices to speed the deployment of clean, resilient power systems in their communities. For more information, visit www.cleanegroup.org and www.resilient-power.org.

The District of Columbia Department of Energy Environment (DOEE) is the leading authority on energy and environmental issues affecting the District of Columbia. DOEE leads the implementation of Climate Ready DC, the District’s plan to prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change and Solar for All, a program which seeks to provide the benefits of solar electricity to 100,000 low-income households and reduce their energy bills by 50% by 2032. Solar for All was established by the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Expansion Amendment Act of 2016, is funded by the Renewable Energy Development Fund (REDF). For more information about Solar for All visit: http://doee.dc.gov/solarforall
 

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