An ongoing partnership with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is helping properties in the MassHousing portfolio incorporate environmental sustainability practices.
Retrofit Pilot Results in 20% Savings for 3,000 units
MassHousing began working with LISC in 2015, through a grant to the Massachusetts Green Retrofit Initiative to support its work completing green asset management plans with 20 property owners whose portfolios cover 29,000 units of affordable housing statewide.
- Each owner committed to the retrofit of at least one property
- These priority retrofits cover 2,896 units
- Between 2010 and 2015, LISC’s retrofit program has impacted 5,000 units
- Of the 3,500 retrofits performed between 2012-2015, more than half realized energy cost savings of greater than 20%
Marianne McLaughlin of Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC), one of the 20 owner participants, explains: "The Green Retrofit Initiative gathered peers to share best practices, which JPNDC finds really helpful. We learned the benchmarks we should strive to reach: less than 7 BTUs per square foot per heating degree day and below 65 gallons per bedroom per day. The program also analyzed participants' portfolio data. JPNDC learned that our gas use was below the group's median, which was really good, and we learned we have to do better on electricity and water use – not bad, but we can do better."
Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation’s (CSNDC) Drew Vernalia, agreed. “LISC assisted CSNDC in creating a very effective green asset management plan, including an ‘energy tracking and retrofit planning tool’ that we continue to use for all of our 960 units. This helps with prioritizing properties in need and securing utility funding. Obtaining valuable retrofits in lighting and gas equipment provided substantial savings in capital expenses and ongoing operating costs at many properties, including some with MassHousing investment.”
New commitment expands scope
In March 2017, MassHousing’s Board approved an additional commitment to LISC to promote
- Sustainability at Recapitalization: provide technical support to developments approaching recapitalization, and funding to four borrowers who commit energy efficiency and healthy housing measures
- Deeper Energy Savings: MassHousing’s ongoing support leveraged a $600,000 grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, which provided energy audits at 24 Massachusetts developments to drive greater savings and technical assistance to 14 projects to optimize existing clean energy technologies
- Sustainable Property Management: developing a scalable initiative to drive sustainability throughout MassHousing’s portfolio
- Healthy Property Management: including healthy pest management and cleaning; smoke-free housing policies; and practices to promote an active lifestyle.
"We are excited to continue working with MassHousing to support affordable housing owners statewide in achieving deeper energy and water savings, incorporating appropriate clean energy technologies, and implementing healthy housing measures across their portfolios," said Emily Jones, LISC Boston’s Green Retrofit Initiative Program Officer. "Thanks to the generous support of MassHousing, the Barr Foundation, and others, and building upon the policy work LISC has done collaboratively with the state’s housing finance agencies and utilities, we look forward to ensuring even more residents are able to live in high performance, comfortable, and healthy homes with lower operating costs."