U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

High Performance Buildings

The Office of Economic Development (OED) coordinates and supports energy-efficiency and green building goals and initiatives for the Department. OED works with HUD program offices and other federal agencies to lower HUD's annual estimated $6.4 billion in utility expenditures for public and multifamily assisted housing.

OED's High Performance Buildings activites include:

The Federal Renewable Energy Target aims to have 300MW of renewable energy in federally-assisted affordable housing by 2020. HUD's target is triple the amount of the original target.
Multifamily Better Buildings Challenge
HUD is partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy to increase the efficiency of multifamily rental housing by 20 percent across a partner's entire portfolio through the Better Buildings Challenge.
Agency Priority Goal 4 - Energy Efficient, Healthy Homess
As program lead for this goal, OED assists HUD's program offices in implementing and monitoring HUD's energy-related Agency Priority Goal under the Department's Strategic Plan. This goal is tracked through HUDStat, the Secretary's quarterly initiative to drive improved performance on HUD priority goals.
Utilities, Benchmarking, and Data Access
HUD is working with utilities nationally to make it easier for housing providers to request and receive individual data on energy consumption and costs to help HUD, housing providers, and residents manage costs, identify energy efficiency improvements, and track portfolio performance.


HUD faces many challenges when it comes to energy policy. For an overview, see Implementing HUD's Energy Strategy, a report to Congress dated December 2008, that includes a summary of progress toward implementing planned actions [1].

First, utility bills burden the poor and can cause homelessness. There is a Home Energy Affordability Gap Index based on energy bills for persons below 185 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. The gap was $34.1 billion at 2007/2008 winter heating fuel prices [2]. The burden on the poor is more than four times the average 4 percent others pay.Twenty-six percent of evictions were due to utility cut-offs in St. Paul, MN.

Second, HUD programs are affected by energy costs. HUD's own "energy bill" - the amount that HUD spends annually on heating, lighting, and cooling its portfolio of public and assisted housing and section 8 vouchers - reached the $5 billion mark in 2007 [3]. Public Housing utilities cost more than $1 billion per year.

Third, energy costs affect economic development. Importing fuel drains millions of dollars from local economies [4].

[1] - See Table on page 13 for planned actions developed by the Energy Task Force.

[2] - See Fisher, Sheehan and Colton, On the Brink 2008; The Home Energy Affordability Gap

[3] - See Table B-1, in "Implementing HUD's Energy Strategy"

[4] - See Energy and Economic Development Phase I | Phase II.