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HUD’s ‘Better Climate Challenge’ Supports Environment

HUD hopes more multifamily owners will commit to cutting carbon emissions, in part because lower-income communities face a greater risk from natural disasters.

WASHINGTON – Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia L. Fudge, Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm and White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy announced an inaugural to lower the carbon footprint of communities.

Called the Better Climate Challenge, a private-public partnership led by DOE, the initiative currently has over 80 businesses and organizations signed on to reduce their carbon output. If one partner finds an innovative way to reduce their carbon footprint, they’re encouraged to share it with the others.

HUD supports the multifamily component of the Better Climate Challenge, one of several building sectors participating.

“The Challenge is not just about cutting carbon pollution, but about supporting communities that all too often bear the brunt of climate change while seeing too few of the benefits from the energy transition,” says HUD’s Fudge. “We have a tremendous opportunity to deliver climate justice to disadvantaged communities, lower energy expenses in affordable housing, and accelerate mitigation efforts to protect at-risk communities from natural disasters and the impacts of climate change.”

Of the multifamily participants, Fudge says “seven are public housing and multifamily partners, representing a bright future for more than 40,000 families.”

“Companies across America are joining arms to lead the zero-carbon transition,” says Energy’s Granholm. She says it’s not just about the environment, it’s also about costs: “Meaningful and measurable emissions reductions of the Better Climate Challenge will save American businesses billions of dollars, create good-paying jobs, and drive innovation that strengthens the entire U.S. economy.”

The Better Climate Challenge is a voluntary, market-based platform, HUD says. It helps organizations come together and put in place portfolio-wide, operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals and showcase how they are taking necessary, measurable steps to address the impacts of climate change.

The challenge builds on the existing Better Building Challenge, which HUD supports with Community Compass technical assistance (TA). Unlike the Better Building Challenge’s requirement for a commitment to a 20% improvement in energy efficiency, the Climate Challenge will request commitments of a 50% portfolio-wide reduction in carbon emissions over 10 years.

Any organization with a portfolio of at least two multifamily buildings and 250 units can join the multifamily Better Climate Challenge.

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