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Public Housing Environmental and Conservation Clearinghouse

(NEW) Energy is Webinar

In continuation of the Energy Is Everywhere webinar series, we are pleased to announced the 11th installment of the series titled:  STEM and Energy Literacy.  We will hear from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and learn how their partnership with the United States Military Academy  (USMA) uses STEM technology and STEM efforts.  STEM technology and STEM efforts can both impact public housing authorities and public housing residents. 

We will also hear from the Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE). OCTAE will provide an overview of LINCS,  a new national leadership initiative that seeks to expand evidence-based practice in the field of adult education.  

STEM and Energy Literacy

Thursday, September 17, 2015 2:45:00 PM EDT - 4:15:00 PM EDT


The HUD STEM Innovation Network (HSIN) is a program designed to use housing as a platform to improve the quality of life for youth and families by inspiring, exciting, and engaging students living in public and affordable housing communities in the diverse and challenging fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). In partnership with the West Point Center for Leadership and Diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (CLD STEM), workshops consisting of LEGO® MINDSTORMS® are held for middle school students. Faculty members and cadets lead 40 public housing students through various activities as they assemble and then learn to program their robots. Students learn basic programming logic, communication and working in teams. The culminating event at the workshops entails a competition so that the students observe the applicability of the newly acquired skills. The faculty members and cadets facilitate the event and judge the matches to see which team’s robot accomplishes assigned tasks most successfully. The goal is to provide exposure and encourage students to pursue an education and subsequent careers in STEM.


Through the Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) to expand evidence-based practice in the field of adult education, LINCS is a national leadership initiative of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) to expand evidence-based practice in the field of adult education. LINCS Learning offers a newly added Teaching Energy Literacy to Adult Learners course. 

This information will help webinar participants:

  1. Understand the concept of energy literacy;
  2. Employ the Energy Literacy Framework’s seven Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts
  3. Utilize online resources to guide adult learners in exploring the seven principles of LINCS energy literacy.

 Register Now

Please share this information with staff who work on energy issues, resident services staff, and resident leaders. You may also wish to send this announcement with local schools and/or other organizations with whom you work on energy issues or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) projects. More information can be found at

Any questions about the series may be directed to  

Upgraded Utility Benchmarking Tool Available to PHAs

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has upgraded a free online utility benchmarking tool that can help you as a PHA identify what your properties’ energy use is, ultimately allowing you to determine how to reduce your energy and save on utilities. EPA’s tool, the Portfolio Manager, is a free, web-based benchmarking tool that allows users to monitor the water and energy consumption of the buildings in their portfolio.  With this tool, interested PHAs can track their weather-normalized utility consumption by month or year, allowing you to compare energy use between buildings, target improvements to reduce your energy consumption and costs, and determine the effectiveness of energy improvements.

PHAs who have used the tool and want to see the upgrades, can visit EPA’s upgrade page.

PHAs who are new to the tool, can get started here: Energy Star Benchmarking Starter Kit.

Sustainable and Green Topics

[Image - Apartment]Energy Conservation

All Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) are required to implement HUD policies in support of National Energy Conservation goals by requiring PHAs to conduct energy audits and undertake certain cost effective energy conservation measures.  When cost effective and funding is available, PHAs should install energy conservation measures with the shortest paybacks periods first to help fund longer payback energy conservation measures.   

Smoke Free Public Housing
Since 2009,  the Office of Public and Indian Housing has encouraged PHAs to adopt smoke free housing policies in some or all of their buildings.  The elimination of second or third hand smoke that can migrate between multifamily units can be an important step towards improving the health of residents as well as reducing maintenance costs for PHAs.   

Click here to read the Press Release for "Smoke-free subsidized housing would save $521 million a year."

[Image - Mattress]Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
IPM focuses on pest prevention, eliminating sources and using less toxic materials to control pests such as bedbugs, cockroaches and ants.

Water Conservation

[Image - Water Droplet] Water conservation benchmarking is a very useful starting point for PHAs to target water saving opportunities and can help PHAs overall asset management strategy.

[Image - AC Unit] Operations & Maintenance
O&M includes all aspects of running a building over the course of its useful life. Because of the far-reaching nature of O&M, a well designed and properly executed program is critical to the overall success.

[Image - Eco friendly person with suitcase] PIH Green Initiative
The PIH Green Initiative is about spotlighting the latest topics related to the environmental movement known as "Going Green" This month's article is about Green Building.

[Image - Lead Paint] Hazardous Materials
Lead Threat Thrives: Years after poisoning, a Queensbury family still fearing its effects.

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Energy Stars and Green Giants
PHECC Newsletters
Additional Resources

Research and review more details about what HUD and other federal government agencies have available to further energy awareness

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