Utility Benchmarking

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Utility Benchmarking

Postby DSHA Dev Staff » Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:57 pm

We have had some questions on the Utility Benchmarking point category. Listed below are questions and additional clarification:

1. How much flexibility do you have on the requirement that the oldest datapoint must be no more than 3 months old?

Regarding tenant utility tracking and maintaining current data:
DSHA strives to support the development of energy efficient affordable housing. To that end, we want to understand tenants’ utility use and cost, and we want that data to be as current as possible. If the property’s respective utilities offer online customer portals and the sponsor will use a Service with automatic data importing capabilities, DSHA expects the data can be maintained by incorporating tenant release forms into leasing and other regular management procedures. If the property’s utilities do not offer online customer portals and the LIHTC applicant wants to be considered for the optional the utility benchmarking points, we suggest the sponsor submit a plan with its application that details how the applicant will pursue benchmarking and facilitate DSHA’s goals. Note that the benchmarking provision doesn’t necessarily require tracking all units, but rather a sample that complies with HUD’s Notice.

2. The requirement states the utility benchmarking company must "provide evidence that the project has been enrolled in a benchmarking service at construction closing." What evidence do you require?

Regarding “evidence” and “construction closing:”
If the applicant uses a service, a signed contract would be sufficient evidence. By your reference to construction closing, I assume the property in question is an existing facility rather than new construction. In that instance, DSHA seeks benchmarking to start once the construction financing loan is closed as we hope to understand how the existing building performs with respect to energy before and after upgrades implemented with the LIHTC allocation. Note that tracking tenant utilities is not required until the property reaches full occupancy.

3. The requirement states DSHA "will have access to all information tracked through the utility benchmarking service annually and upon request." What type of request will you make? Will this just require access to our data on Portfolio manager?

Regarding DSHA access to benchmarking data:
DSHA wants to understand the property’s utility use and cost for both owners and tenants. Access through a Portfolio Manager is likely not sufficient as the data is aggregated, so DSHA cannot see owner v. tenant use and cost. If the sponsor uses Service, perhaps the applicant could provide a download of building characteristics and utility data upon request or the property could be otherwise shared with DSHA through the Service platform.
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