Energy & Water Conservation

SAHF and its members are committed to the sustainability of our planet and our communities by building and operating energy and water efficient housing.  As leaders in the affordable multifamily housing sector, we continually seek new ways to ensure the transition toward a low-carbon future is one that benefits our low-income residents and makes our communities more resilient. We strive to reduce our environmental impact through greater adoption of efficiency and renewable energy models and solutions.

The Big Reach

In 2013, SAHF and its members developed and launched the Big Reach initiative, a collaborative effort to achieve a portfolio-wide 20% reduction in energy and water consumption by the year 2020.

Under the Big Reach, SAHF develops practical tools, facilitates partnerships, and identifies practical solutions to capital, systems and policy barriers.  Our work to reduce energy and water consumption results in a myriad of benefits - cost savings for owners, residents and taxpayers; environmental benefits for communities and the planet; and improved resident health and comfort.

Big Reach Goals

  • Reduce Operating Costs to Preserve Affordable Housing
  • Reduce Energy and Water Rate Risk Exposure
  • Reduce Barriers within Government Regulatory Structures
  • Influence Utility Incentive Programs to Provide Greater Resources
  • Change Organizational Cultures

Based on 2019 consumption data, members have reported a 29% reduction in energy consumption against their 2010 Big Reach baseline for 44% of the portfolio. They have also reported a 24% reduction in water consumption against their 2010 Big Reach Baseline for 64% of the portfolio.

The SAHF members achieved these savings through a mix of approaches, including:

Our work to date has resulted in energy and water improvements at more than 700 properties that encompass more than 60,000 affordable homes.  This includes rooftop solar installations which are operational at more than 100 properties. Members are also exploring and implementing new models of distributed energy such as community solar, which supports residents access to locally generated renewable energy.

Better Buildings Challenge

In conjunction with the Big Reach initiative, we are working with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Energy under the Better Buildings Challenge to promote best practices and policy incentives that enable energy and water efficiency in multifamily housing. Learn more about the Better Buildings Challenge by clicking here.

Member Highlights

Implementation Models

 Showcase Projects