HUD Adopts Minimum Energy Standards for Housing Programs

HUD and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently issued a Notice of Final Determination that establishes minimum energy standards that newly constructed housing units must meet to be eligible for insurance through various HUD and USDA programs. The two agencies have adopted the 2009 edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for single-family homes and the 2007 edition of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 90.1 for multifamily buildings. 

The standards put into effect by the notice will apply specifically to newly constructed housing that is insured through the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) single-family and multifamily insurance programs, USDA’s Section 502 Guaranteed Home Loan program, and the HOME program. The new standards won’t apply to units receiving support programs that have already adopted building codes that meet or exceed the ERISA standards, including the Public Housing Capital Fund, Section 811 Supportive Housing, and the Choice Neighborhoods initiative. Also exempt from the new standards is housing constructed through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Housing Choice Vouchers programs.

Based on their 2011 production data, HUD and the USDA estimate that the new standards will affect 3,200 multifamily units and 15,000 single-family units per year. The agencies also expect the new standards to be cost effective, projecting that annual energy savings generated by the new standards will cover the up-front costs in just over five years.