Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation
At a Glance
Public Housing Authority
Clean and Renewable Energy, Data Analysis
Net Present Value:
Annual kWh Savings:
Annual CO2 Reductions:
42 metric tons
Matt Irish developed an energy management strategy to improve data collection and utility benchmarking processes for Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation.
Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation (Nuestra CDC), a nonprofit managing multifamily affordable housing developments and commercial space buildings, enlisted EDF Climate Corps fellow Matt Irish to enhance its utility benchmarking and energy management strategy under a new initiative of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Nuestra CDC had adopted these practices, but its lean size limited its energy management capacity. Irish was tasked with improving data collection and utility benchmarking required for multifamily affordable and public housing.
After meeting with contacts from Nuestra CDC’s property management company and vendors to take stock of current energy management practices, Irish reviewed energy and water data across the company’s building portfolio. Gaps in data were identified and corrected, ranging from missing electricity meters to entire un-tracked developments. The greatest challenge was adding real-time monitoring capabilities to Nuestra CDC’s four solar PV installations since each had their own unique set of data-logging technologies, financial arrangements and rights to environmental claims. Rather than focusing on one-off projects, Irish saw more lasting value in developing an energy management framework, ensuring that all responsibilities could be met in-house without requiring substantial new resources. The strategy includes resources on creative financing mechanisms, monitoring and verification of energy investments and certification of efficient buildings.
Irish also presented recommendations for improving collaboration around utility benchmarking practices more broadly across the sector. He reported a major bug in one utility’s aggregate data use portal that had likely led to the widespread distribution of inaccurate use records, and found that HUD’s benchmarking rule was missing critical guidance on reporting responsibilities for affordable housing that is funded indirectly via public housing agencies.
The energy management strategy has an estimated lifetime savings of $90,000 from restoring functionality to a large solar installation’s revenue meter and the subsequent funding of a weather station that will enable virtual generation modeling for any solar PV installation. By creating a streamlined process to gather tenant-paid energy usage data, Irish helped Nuestra CDC track whole-building energy data for the first time, allowing for:
- a reduction costs by insourcing municipal benchmarking reporting
- a new method of financing future energy conservation measures on behalf of tenants
- an official commitment to reduce overall energy use intensity by 20% under the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge
Nuestra CDC’s team is working to implement year-one recommendations as it looks to build its energy management strategy into a model for other community development corporations.