This sector includes very different housing types, such as large multi-family buildings, small apartment buildings and single-family houses. These residential buildings may be owned by city agencies, private landlords, multi-family affordable housing developers and individual homeowners. In Philadelphia, 42% of homeowners are generational, meaning their home was inherited— sometimes without a mortgage and with significant deferred maintenance. There are robust waitlists for public housing and homelessness prevention/home repair programs, and healthy home intervention programs are dramatically underfunded.
The Philadelphia Energy Authority is committed to using energy as a tool to improve and preserve affordable housing for Philadelphians.
The Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA), with the leadership of Councilmember Derek Green and a core group of coalition partners and advocates, is rethinking how Philadelphia can improve housing for low-income homeowners.
PEA is acting as an administrative backbone to allow housing programs to layer and streamline their services, and will add construction management services, additional grants and financing as needed. Built to Last seeks to restore the safety, health, affordability and comfort of existing affordable housing in a way that improves the long-term quality of Philadelphia’s housing, builds community wealth, and helps families avoid displacement and stay in their homes.
PEA will manage two pilots in 2021 that will serve 40-50 homes each. For each pilot, PEA will work with low-income homeowners who have already applied for a housing improvement service who are living in neighborhoods with high poverty rates.
PEA will assist the households with enrolling in all available benefits, evaluate their home restoration needs, and coordinate service delivery and supplemental funding. Pilot households will earn below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level and own their homes.
Other Work Underway
Philadelphia Housing Photo Essay
As PEA participates in conversations with public and private entities and agencies to develop programs that support the preservation of existing, affordable homes, we want to shed light on the types of homes we are discussing, and the conditions that exist in both owned and rented low and moderate income housing in Philadelphia. We began a photo essay project with local photographer Jordan Baumgarten to begin to document the types of home repairs and affordability issues common to our unique city. We are deeply grateful for the willingness of participating residents to let us share images of their homes. We hope the project will inform dignified, helpful policy and program ideas to improve the quality of life for all Philadelphians.
The Philadelphia Energy Authority strives to eliminate the financial barriers to energy upgrades by making clean energy accessible and affordable. Energy upgrades provide significant benefits to multifamily housing units, including increasing the property value, lowering its day-to-day operating costs, and reducing its carbon footprint.
PEA’s Affordable Multifamily Housing Program operates in conjunction with Inclusive Prosperity Capital (IPC) to provide several lending products as well as tailored guidance and resources for prospective partners. PEA and IPC offer assistance and financing solutions to help streamline the process of executing energy upgrades on affordable multifamily housing units. Our lending products include the Navigator Pre-Development Loan, the Catalyst Term Loan, solar PPAs, long term ownership or debt capital for community solar projects, and solar and storage loans.
Navigator Pre-Development Loan
The Navigator Pre-Development Loan provides an unsecured line of credit to finance pre-development energy projects in affordable multifamily properties. The Navigator Loan also allows owners to connect with technical service providers for project analysis, design, and implementation.
Access the Navigator Pre-Development Loan Application.
Catalyst Term Loan
The Catalyst Term Loan provides unsecured financing for new construction and renovation projects, including low- and moderate-income multifamily properties and community based non-profit organizations. This loan can contribute to:
- Energy efficiency or renewable energy upgrades,
- Performance auditing and verification, and
- Remediation for health and safety
Catalyst Term Loans can be repaid through energy cost savings with up to 20-year terms.
Access the Catalyst Term Loan Application.
Other Work Underway
PEA is partnering with BlocPower to bring their BlocMaps web tool to Philadelphia in order to help building owners determine what kind of improvement to make and whether those projects will be good investments. BlocMaps Philadelphia is a digital front door for property owners to get a snapshot of the energy savings potential at their properties.
BlocMaps layers together all available local data sets with BlocPower’s experience with building performance in other geographies like New York City to build a detailed model of how Philadelphia’s multifamily properties are operating. BlocMaps will utilize publicly available data of geographic details, benchmarked energy performance, and building permits combined with more detailed energy audit reports for individual buildings. The resulting product lets owners search for their properties and access a report detailing their energy savings opportunities.
When it launches in early 2021, BlocMaps will build a stronger marketplace of energy services for multifamily property owners.
Multifamily Housing Pilot
Multifamily buildings have unique features, financing structures, opportunities and requirements when it comes to energy efficiency. We assembled a team for a multi-family pilot project, which is serving as the model for scaling up across Philadelphia. The implementation partners for the Multi-Family Affordable Housing Developers Pilot are Mission First Housing Group, Friends Rehabilitation Program, BlocPower, CMC Energy Services, Stratis IOT, PECO Energy, and Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW).
Phase 1 included four properties owned and operated by Mission First Housing Group and Friends Rehabilitation Program, totaling 189 units. CMC Energy Services collected key data on the properties and installed utility-funded measures to address electricity and gas consumption. Along with the energy conservation, CMC and Stratis IOT installed networked smart thermostats, which now allow BlocPower to collect aggregated and anonymous data on the conditions that tenants experience, which is assisting BlocPower to refine their recommendations for larger investments in energy conservation.
The initial phase of the Multifamily Housing Pilot comprised minor energy efficiency improvements that were nearly fully funded by PECO and PGW. These efforts resulted in energy savings of up to 15% at the participating properties. One property saw no net energy savings, which was due to operational improvements – some tenant HVAC units were not functioning properly, meaning the blower fans were off and not providing ventilation to the tenant spaces – offsetting efficiency from lighting and other measures.