Public Housing: A Tailored Approach to Energy Retrofits

Stacey Rothgeb, J. Dentz, F. Conlin, D. Podorson, K. Aligh, T. Davis, Stacey Rothgeb (NREL Technical Monitor)

Research output: NRELSubcontract Report


Over one million HUD-supported public housing units provide rental housing for eligible low-income families across the country. A survey of over 100 public housing authorities (PHAs) across the country indicated that there is a high level of interest in developing low-cost solutions that improve energy efficiency and can be seamlessly included in the refurbishment process. Further, PHAs, have incentives (both internal and external) to reduce utility bills. ARIES worked with four PHAs to develop packages of energy efficiency retrofit measures the PHAs can cost-effectively implement with their own staffs in the normal course of housing operations at the time when units are refurbished between occupancies. The energy efficiency turnover protocols emphasized air infiltration reduction, duct sealing, and measures that improve equipment efficiency. ARIES documented implementation in 18 housing units. Reductions in average air leakage were 16% and duct leakage reductions averaged 23%. Total source energy consumption savings due to implemented measures was estimated at 3-10% based on BEopt modeling with a simple payback of 1.6 to 2.5 years. Implementation challenges were encountered mainly related to required operational changes and budgetary constraints. Nevertheless, simple measures can feasibly be accomplished by PHA staff at low or no cost. At typical housing unit turnover rates, these measures could impact hundreds of thousands of units per year nationally.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages98
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Work performed by Advanced Residential Integrated Energy Solutions Collaborative, New York, New York

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/SR-5500-65353

Other Report Number

  • DOE/GO-102016-4814


  • BEopt building energy optimization software
  • Building America
  • EE
  • energy efficiency
  • energy efficiency retrofits
  • energy modeling
  • Islip housing authority
  • Norwalk Housing Authority
  • PHA
  • Philadelphia Housing Authority
  • public housing
  • public housing authority
  • raleigh housing authority
  • residenital buildings
  • residential


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