Renewable Energy Toolkit For Affordable Housing
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Renewable Energy Toolkit For Affordable Housing

Housing preservation, lower and more controllable operating costs, resiliency in the face of increasing energy rates and weather events and reduced carbon emissions: these are just a few of the benefits when you integrate renewable energy and on-site generation into your affordable housing projects. As a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Planning and Development (CPD) grantee, you’ll find out how, using this Toolkit. This toolkit will enable recipients of HUD CPD grants to make renewable energy and on-site generation systems part of their affordable housing development programs under the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME), Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) or Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) programs. Integrating renewable energy and on-site generation is vital because it keeps affordable housing affordable, by reducing and regulatizing energy costs, improves operations and maintenance and adds resilience in the form of reliable back-up power. In addition, renewable energy has significant benefits in reducing the impact of climate change. Renewable energy provides a low- to no-carbon pollution energy source that is necessary if we hope to reduce the impact of human-caused climate change on our environment.

As part of The President’s Climate Action Plan1, HUD and other federal agencies have pledged to add 300 megawatts of renewable energy to federally-subsidized affordable housing by 2020.2 Renewable energy has become more affordable in recent years, especially solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. The number of U.S. homes with solar systems has increased from 30,000 in 2006 to 400,000 in 2013, according to the U.S. Dept. of Energy. That number could reach 3.8 million by 2020. Once too expensive to be considered, today renewable energy can be a real option for almost any affordable housing project.

The importance of integrating renewable energy into affordable housing may be clear, but the path to get there has been less so. This Toolkit provides a step-bystep process and the knowledge, tools and capacity to integrate renewable energy. Energy generated on-site reduces the amount of energy that must be purchased from other sources including coal-fired power plants. Although renewable energies do incur upfront costs, if those costs are properly structured, the investment in renewable technologies will, over the life of the building, more than pay for themselves. Over the long term, and with incorporated incentives and subsidies, it is often cheaper to generate energy on-site than to purchase it.

In rental housing, this clearly benefits tenants and building owners when tenants pay utilities for their units and building owners cover common area utilities. However, even when tenants do not pay utilities directly, renewable energy helps maintain building affordability. For many building owners, funds not spent can instead be allocated to more efficient uses such as operations and maintenance. A well-maintained building is less costly to run. Reduced operating expenditures makes it possible to run a building profitably while charging affordable rents to low-income tenants. These benefits extend across the affordable housing sector so while this Toolkit’s primary audience is recipients of HUD CPD grants, it can also be used by other affordable housing developers integrating renewable energy into their properties. This Toolkit is designed for CPD grant recipients.

For a comprehensive overview of how a wide variety of renewable energy technologies can be implemented into CPD housing, read this Toolkit from start to finish. Each chapter is also written to stand on its own. Highlighted text like this with an arrow next to it indicates a clickable link to an online resource. All full link names appear in footnotes at the bottom of the page. enewable energy means building systems “that rely on fuel sources that restore themselves over short periods of time and don’t diminish.” Renewable energy includes fuel sources such as the sun (solar thermal, solar photovoltaic), wind (windmills or wind turbines), moving water (hydro, wave power and tidal power), organic plant and waste material (biomass) and the earth’s heat (geothermal).

Download Renewable Energy Toolkit For Affordable Housing, Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Planning and Development (CPD) easily in PDF format for free.