General Public Housing Facts
- There are over 1.1 million public housing units nationwide, housing more than 2.1 million low-income people.
- Fifty-two percent of public housing households are headed by an
elderly and/or disabled person; 42% of households have at least one
- Seventy-one percent of households are considered extremely low-income, earning below 30% of area median income.
- The average annual income for 2008 was $13,098.
PHA Costs & Energy Consumption
- Ninety-five percent of public housing was built before 1986 - 57% of the total portfolio was built before 1970.
- It cost public housing agencies $6.4 billion to operate in 2008.
- PHAs have an estimated $32 billion backlog of capital needs.
- PHAs spent nearly $1.5 billion in direct utility payments in 2008 – up from $1.2 billion in 2001.
- In 2007, PHAs provided $421 million in utility allowances, averaging $917.
- Utility costs, including estimated utility allowances, represented over 30% of 2008 public housing operating expenses.
- Reducing public housing energy costs by 10% could save nearly $200 million per year in operating expenses.
- According to a recent study commissioned by HUD, public housing is,
on average, less energy efficient on a per-square-foot basis than all
other U.S. residential households.
- Energy usage among similar public housing buildings varies
considerably, illustrating the potential for substantial energy savings.
Impact of Energy Costs on Low-Income Families
- The Home Energy Affordability Gap – the difference between what
low-income households can afford to pay for home energy costs and what
they actually pay – increased from $23 billion in 2002 to $41 billion
- Available assistance through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance
Program increased only $279 million from 2002-2007 – representing only
a 10% increase.
- In 2008, 60% of low-income households reported more difficulty paying their energy bills than in the previous year.
Energy Performance Contracting
- Energy Performance Contracts (EPC) allow a PHA to seek private
investment for Energy Conservation Measures (ECM); a portion of the
savings from reduced energy consumption are used to pay back investors.
- As of March 2008, PHAs had entered into a total of 183 EPCs since 1992.
- The total investment in ECMs by PHAs through EPCs is $564 million, with annual savings of $103 million.
- Applicants receive additional points in the annual grant
competition if they incorporate green building aspects into their
- Sixty of the 63 applicants from 2005-07 received points for energy efficiency measures.
- All grant recipients in 2006 and 2007 plan to incorporate energy efficiency measures into their redeveloped housing.
- A recent HUD survey of 49 HOPE VI sites showed that 73% of the surveyed recipients included Energy Star products.
- Energy consumption at HOPE VI sites is estimated to be 17 percent
below other public housing properties – those with Energy Star products
lowered consumption to 25 percent below other properties.
Innovative Work on Greening
- The Seattle Housing Authority found that technologies incorporated into the High Point development reduce consumption of electricity by 40% and water by 54% when compared to similar units in other Seattle public housing.
- The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (Cleveland) has
realized annual savings in excess of $4 million from an EPC to add a
green roof, update furnaces, install windows and energy efficient
lighting and integrate water conservation devices.
Maverick Landing Development is the first LEED-certified affordable
housing neighborhood, employing transit-oriented development, renewable
energy production, and healthy homes design.