Managing Energy in Housing

RHA owns and manages over 1,900 public housing units, of which more than 75% were built before 1970. By 2012, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding could not cover the aging housing stock’s rising maintenance costs and RHA became a last resort housing option for many tenants. However, by implementing a successful energy performance contract (EPC), RHA regained its reputation for providing quality affordable housing that positively influences Rockford’s economy, social fabric and livability.

Rockford Housing Authority along with their Energy Performance Contractor, Johnson Controls, completed a $7.2 million energy upgrade project in December of 2015.  This project included measurable upgrades to 9 of the housing authority’s 11 developments.  Because the EPC project remained on schedule and under budget RHA was able to leverage excess funds into an Illinois Clean Energy Foundation.

Making a Connection with Better Buildings

As part of RHA’s energy conservation commitment RHA pledged to reducing energy consumption by 15% with the Better Building Council. Better Buildings is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) designed to improve the lives of the American people by driving leadership in energy innovation.

Through Better Buildings, DOE partners with leaders in the public and private sectors to make the nation’s homes, commercial buildings and industrial plants more energy efficient by accelerating investment and sharing of successful best practices.

Giving Housing a Greener Future

By utilizing an EPC, Rockford Housing Authority was able to implement an energy and water use reduction program that met its Board’s goals. The efficiency upgrades fit into RHA’s goal of transforming its housing stock from housing of last choice into desirable communities. By improving tenants’ quality of life and providing stable housing, RHA’s investments had a beneficial impact on the surrounding neighborhood. RHA increased the long-term financial sustainability of its housing portfolio by increasing efficiency and reducing utility costs.

From 2014 to 2015, installed energy efficiency measures produced cost savings of over $100,000, which will be used to pay back the debt service incurred on the project. Future savings will be used to supplement operations and programming budgets at each site.

With installations of energy control measures complete, RHA is implementing its energy literacy and conservation platforms for residents and area students.

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