Braintree and Jamaica Plain, MA (July 25, 2019)The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) committed to the federal government’s Better Buildings Challenge, setting the goal of 20% energy use reduction in its affordable housing portfolio.  The savings goal is set on a 2012 baseline, to be achieved by 2022.  Today, three years ahead of schedule, JPNDC announced it achieved this goal of 20% energy use reduction.

Since joining the Better Buildings Challenge, JPNDC’s team worked with Peabody Properties, Inc., their full-service real estate and property management firm, to identify buildings with the greatest potential for energy and water efficiency and to benchmark their portfolio for energy and water expenses.  Through this partnership, JPNDC reached its Better Buildings Challenge goal sooner than expected by implementing a variety of measures throughout the portfolio, including LED upgrades, high-efficiency boilers, outdoor reset controls, and solar hot water.

For the Better Buildings Challenge, JPNDC and PPI concentrated on a selected portfolio of nine properties and 337 apartment units, which totaled more than 300,000 square feet. (JPNDC’s overall portfolio includes 16 sites and 671 units.)  To support this effort, JPNDC and PPI secured $1.3 million in grants primarily through the Massachusetts-based Low Income Energy Affordability Network (LEAN).  LEAN’s funding provided extensive electrical retrofits and boiler upgrades at several of JPNDC’s Boston-based properties.  (Action for Boston Community Development – ABCD – manages the LEAN program.) Additionally, JPNDC and Peabody participated with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) in the MA Green Energy Retrofit, which yielded benefits including implementation of a solar hot water system through the MA Clean Energy Center.

JPNDC and PPI subscribe to WegoWise, a software tool that tracks energy and water use in real-time.  WegoWise is the portal through which JPNDC properties’ data qualified many properties for free, cost-effective efficiency measures funded by utility companies’ rate-based efficiency programs.  In 2017, WegoWise began issuing weekly emails alerting clients on use spikes (as well as savings). Peabody downloads reports with raw data and sends alerts to on-site staff for troubleshooting. Resolving issues promptly avoids energy and water waste and, by reining in overall energy use, maintains the persistence of energy savings over the long run.

“We could not have accomplished this without a tool like WegoWise or without the array of strong relationships we’ve cultivated over the years. We’re especially appreciative of our management partners at Peabody Properties, who work with us on cost-effective and comprehensive approaches to each retrofit,” said Marianne McLaughlin, JPNDC’s Senior Asset Manager.  “JPNDC is committed to improving energy efficiency across our entire portfolio.  Resident engagement is a critical component to achieving ongoing success.  Peabody Properties’ staff works with us to show our residents how their actions support sustainability, lower their individually-paid utility bills, and improve their comfort levels.”

Laurie McGrath, Peabody’s Vice President of Affordable Housing, directs the company’s team on JPNDC’s portfolio.  “We are thrilled with the JPNDC portfolio performance and proud of Peabody’s Facility Management Team and its work to assure the persistence of energy savings, consistently evaluate emerging technologies for reliable performance, and maintain our ongoing communication and collaboration with JPNDC.”   “We are thrilled to have created this culture of conservation awareness in partnership with JPNDC,” said Elizabeth Merzigian, a key member of Peabody’s Facilities Management Team.  “It’s great to see an organization like JPNDC commit to this level of energy efficiency and see such tremendous results realized earlier than projected.  They set a model for other communities to consider.”