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|7, 2011 Volume 3, Issue 5|
The Weatherization PLUS Newsletter
Economic Opportunity Studies, Inc. | www.weatherizationplus.org
New EOS Resource
Promising Practices in Multifamily Weatherization
EOS has been looking for and analyzing programs that are having success in greatly expanding their Multifamily W.A.P. work. Our new paper summarizes promising practices in managing multifamily weatherization through creative partnerships and innovative management practices at two agencies that have succeeded in dramatic expansions. We are working on presenting more examples, and these will be added to the "Promising Practices" collection as they are completed. These multifamily practices offer solutions to the challenges to weatherizing multifamily homes: identifying candidate buildings, engaging owners, closing the deal, fast-tracking permits, ramping up human and technical resources, and handling contract issues.
Read the summary of solutions for multifamily weatherization here: Managing Multifamily Weatherization: Good Practices
Weatherization Funding for FY 2012: Congressional Debate Begins
On either Monday afternoon 7/11 or the next day, the House of Representatives will begin debate on the FY 2012 Energy and Water Bill that contains DOE funding, including Weatherization. It provides $33 million for W.A.P. and permits the Secretary of DOE to allocate all funds to states that used up their ARRA and regular funds loosely based on the formula. By contrast, the President asked for $230 million for the regular program and more for "Innovation Grants"; this year’s regular funding is about $174 million. At least one amendment to restore funding has been filed. Public policy aficionados/as may enjoy keeping an eye on C-Span live streamed video of the House in their non-work time; (short, five-minute) speeches about the merits of clean energy and efficiency will be flying fast and, maybe, furiously. Army Corps of Engineer project funding is included in the same Bill.
Department of Energy Policies May, Together, Make Big Changes
As previously announced, DOE issued guidance (WPN 11-6 and WPN 11-6a) on how states should take a more unified approach to health and safety (H&S) measures. WPN 11-6 noted that H&S issues were "being inconsistently addressed across the weatherization network," and that there are two fundamental questions that should be answered in all state H&S plans:
The clear change in policy is a new cost allocation basis that should expand flexibility in applying H&S remedies. Previously, H&S expenditure limits were expressed as a percentage of the average cost per unit. In PY 2011 and beyond, this percentage will be a share of the program overall budget, thereby removing per-dwelling cap. Of course H&S measures can only be considered where energy efficiency measures are implemented.
Grantees are encouraged to create a separate H&S budget associated with a comprehensive list of measures. A Guidance Table to assist states was too late for most planning. Recognizing the difficulty, DOE is allowing states to implement the new H&S plans, but requiring that the written plan be submitted starting in PY 2012.
Still to come:
New EOS Resources
The EOS Financing Tools Series
Do you want to learn more about the concepts DOE leaders are discussing as leveraged financing options for post-ARRA Weatherization? As more multifamily building owners become partners with their local weatherizers, it is possible that financing tools that work for building and renovating affordable housing projects can be adapted to the scale of W.A.P. projects. DOE is considering allowing agencies to use W.A.P. funds for a local revolving loan fund. EOS is collecting and "translating" some of these concepts for the Weatherization community to use in planning for the future.
Check out our new Financing Tools Series, starting with the Glossary of Energy Efficiency Financing Tools and following its links to longer explanations of tools including: Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Bonds, "Subordinated" Capital, Revolving Loan Funds, and Loan Loss Reserve Funds.
Heard a different unfamiliar financial term circulating in your W.A.P. networks? Send us an email, and get an explanation. (If we don’t know it, we’ll learn!)
FHA + Fannie Mae: A New ‘Green’ Multifamily Loan Initiative
With a goal in mind of adding greener investments to conventional mortgage financing and supporting green building retrofits, a joint FHA + Fannie Mae program, Green Refinance Plus, was announced by HUD this past month. Specifically, owners of affordable multifamily rental properties that are at least 10 years-old – who are looking to refinance and extend the usable life of their properties – should be taking a close look at the program. Green Refinance Plus is intended to facilitate the refinancing process for LIHTC properties and other affordable projects. As a part of the underwriting, Fannie Mae will adopt a Green Physical Needs Assessment (Green PNA) for these loans. For more details, see our website posted document on Green Refinance Plus.
Healthy Homes Conference Recap
As part of our mission to find new resources and partners to expand W.A.P., EOS Leveraging Project Coordinator, Nathan Warren attended the 2011 National Healthy Homes Conference in Denver, CO. While he is sad to report no massive and untapped funding source was revealed, there is no question that the connection between investments in healthy indoor environments and investments in energy efficiency are being examined in depth by many experts with different skills and concerns.
In a session titled, "Lessons Learned from Integrating Healthy Homes into Energy Conservation Programs", Jill Breysee from the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) stated that, "It is just plain difficult to coordinate Wx work with remediation work… when you are dealing with kids who have chronic asthma." Ms. Breysee was adamant that teamwork and flexibility in programs (and staff) are critical. Presently, NCHH is in the middle of a study researching the impact of home energy work on residential health highlighting this topic. In another session, "Affordable Can Be Healthy Too", Jane Massey from the Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity stressed that community outreach and partnerships are a must; healthy homes = healthy neighborhoods and communities. It was apparent in attended sessions that developing strategies and partnerships to better integrate environmental health mitigation practices into Wx and home repair programs is still a rarely resolved challenge.
For a successful model on a modest scale, see the presentation by The Opportunity Council. The work of NASCSP’s collaborative healthy homes project, Weatherization Plus Health: A National Effort for Local Healthy Homes, is clearly going to be groundbreaking when it culminates with resources delivering info on healthy homes infrastructure, T&TA, and best practices for referral systems between healthy homes and Wx services to better coordinate partnerships and leverage resources.
Lstiburek Talks Risks of Energy Efficiency
Controversial Dr. Joseph Lstiburek sparked an audience at the National Building Museum as a part of a DOE sponsored event "Building in the 21st Century: The Risks Associated with Energy Conservation and Home Weatherization".
Lstiburek highlighted four priorities that should be addressed for whole house retrofits: 1) combustion safety, 2) indoor contaminants, 3) comfort, and 4) energy. Lstiburek stressed that these should be addressed by adopting a plan that: brings combustion appliances up to code, controls pressure in the house, incorporates controlled ventilation, eliminates significant holes in the envelope, and installs proper insulation. A take-away from the presentation, when performing whole-house analysis and post-WAP testing: energy auditors and agencies performing Wx services should keep these easy, yet paramount, fixes in mind when providing services to clients. Science (blower-door and computer generated simulations) should not be used to oversell services when common sense solutions are available.
Dr. Lstiburek is a principal of Building Science Corporation and an ASHRAE Fellow. He has over 25 years of experience in design, construction, and building science research.
Welcome Our New Weatherization Intern
The newest member of the EOS team is Christina Palazzolo, our Weatherization Partnership Project Summer Intern. She will be working on updating all our information bout 2010-2012 utility low-income weatherization programs. Christina hails from the land of cheese and beer, otherwise known as the great state of Wisconsin. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in 2007 with a B.A. in History and Political Science, she joined AmeriCorps–St. Louis. During this time she served as a literacy tutor for first graders in St. Louis, Missouri. In May 2010, she graduated from Indiana University with an MPA with concentrations in Policy Analysis and Sustainable Development. In June of 2011, she moved to D.C. for an internship with EOS. So far, she has enjoyed her time in D.C. (minus the humidity). Go Badgers!
The Newsletter of Economic Opportunity Studies’ Weatherization PLUS Leveraging Partnership Project brings timely information about developments that expand the Weatherization Assistance Program to help your organization take advantage of emerging opportunities. Visit the Weatherization PLUS portal for more information.
Why You Are Receiving This Email
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In This Issue:
» Multifamily Promising Practices
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Disclaimer: "This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof."