Little Ten Housing Authorities of Southwest Virginia, Inc.
At a Glance
Public Housing Authority
James Gordon created benchmarking programs for buildings in the Little Ten Housing Authorities to reduce overall energy use and lower the cost of utility bills.
The Little Ten Housing Authorities of Southwest Virginia, a non-profit umbrella organization in Virginia, enlisted EDF Climate Corps fellow James Gordon in partnership with HUD and Viridiant, to help better understand and benchmark energy use in their public housing portfolios. With energy efficiency being a key objective in public housing, this represented a unique opportunity for the Little Ten to gain valuable insights into its energy use and a better understanding of options for improving efficiency rarely afforded to smaller, rural housing authorities.
Due to the diverse nature of the Little Ten, Gordon spent significant time getting to know each housing authority and developing bespoke utility benchmarking programs matching the individual strengths and circumstances. Having this knowledge, he then successfully benchmarked a significant portion of the entire Little Ten portfolio using the EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager application, enabling each authority to track their energy and water use between buildings and across time and create more environmentally expedient capital works and maintenance decisions. Gordon also designed each Portfolio Manager account to feed data back to HUD, simplifying potential reporting requirements. Finally, he produced a management report for each housing authority within the Little Ten, discussing their energy use, potential savings options and opportunities to improve their utility benchmarking processes in the future.
By the EPA’s own estimates, organizations who benchmark their utility use end up reducing consumption by an average of 2.4% per year--a major saving for public housing authorities which allocate a significant proportion of their budget to utility bills. This project has given each authority in the Little Ten the ability to focus their attention on poorly performing buildings and track energy efficiency over time. The authorities are now better enabled to allocate resources for reducing energy use, ultimately leaving them with more money to improve their public housing portfolios and providing them with invaluable knowledge to direct capital works expenditures well into the future.