Better Buildings Challenge: Daring Multi-Family Owners to Reduce Energy by 20%

by ‐ Tags: tracking and benchmarking, property management

Can the Multi-Family Sector Reduce Energy by 20 Percent Over Ten Years?

What was the best way to get your friend on the playground to take on a tough assignment? "I double dare you!"

In 2013, the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) came together to challenge the multi-family housing sector to take on their own tough assignment. The government double dared owners and managers to reduce energy consumption by at least 20 percent over ten years.

While this might not be as scary as jumping off the jungle gym in elementary school, for many owners and managers the task seems just as daunting. If the challenge is successful, it will have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions, investors' and residents' pocketbooks, and many residents' quality of life. Almost 25% of American households live in a multi-family building, ranging from high rise towers in NYC to garden style apartments in suburban Detroit.

Luckily, there are tools out there to help achieve these goals. The federal government will be convening groups to discuss what is working and what is not, putting out case studies, and making other resources available. WegoWise is proud to be working with over 40% of the initial 50 participants in the multi-family Better Buildings Challenge.

To learn more watch this short video. We have also included some important FAQs directly from the Better Buildings Challenge.


What does a multi-family housing organization commit to?

Partners commit to:

  1. Publicly pledge a portfolio-wide energy savings goal of at least 20 percent over 10 years and develop an organization-wide plan, schedule, and milestones.
  2. Announce, initiate, and complete at least one showcase project.
  3. Share portfolio-wide, building-level energy performance information to measure progress against their pledge goal, and share information about the energy efficiency implementation models (including the tools, technologies, and processes) they are using to reach their pledge goal.

What are the requirements regarding data reporting and transparency for the Better Buildings Challenge?

For Multifamily Residential Partners, DOE and HUD are currently working with market leaders to identify the specific data reporting and transparency requirements.

What is a Better Buildings Challenge showcase project?

Showcase projects demonstrate that Better Buildings Challenge Partners are taking immediate, concrete actions resulting in significant and real savings. Showcases are an opportunity to highlight specific projects that are innovative, aggressive, and notable, and share strategies, solutions, and results. Partners are encouraged to have multiple showcases. DOE recommends that a showcase project be expected to produce significant energy and cost savings, with a preference for 20 percent energy savings or more, in line with the Better Buildings Challenge goals. Also, a showcase project is ideally replicable, demonstrates to others how to take action, and is appropriately sized to reflect the Partner's commitment to reduce energy use.

If you are a client of WegoWise, we would be happy to help you pull together a terrific case study for DOE.

How does a multi-family housing organization become a Partner in the Challenge?

Multifamily residential organizations sign an Agreement with both US Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). If your organization is interested in joining, please send an email to

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