Challenge Groups

NEWHAB Challenge Groups form on a regular cycle by members who self-organize to focus on a shared challenge or question. These groups benefit from shared network resources and deepen their relationships while trying to uncover new solutions. Their histories are recorded here for our collective memory.

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Resilience: Building community resilience to natural disasters and climate change. This challenge group comes out of an engaging break-out session at the 2019 Annual Convening in Los Angeles.

Greening Specifications

The goal of this challenge group was to identify how best we can green specifications - how do we go about getting specs changed to all healthy materials, what are the first steps?

Fuel Switching

This group explored how switching to electricity from natural gas as a fuel source may affect resident utility bills and what measures can be implemented to prevent an increase in costs.

Energy/Water Nexus

Energy & Water Nexus: This work group explored creating model policy guidance (“bill in a box”) to enable water and/or energy utilities to count and recognize the full spectrum

Energy Equity

Energy Equity: Building off the work of past challenge groups, what are potential strategies for uplifting tenant benefits in our work?


Connectivity: This series featured guests from other related initiatives and networks in an effort to build relationships and uncover leverage opportunities

Solar Financing

Solar Financing: What is the state of the field (best practices and new ideas) for financing low-income solar?

Health and Housing

The round robin series featured a different guest health/healthcare expert working at (or interested in) the intersection of health and housing each month. A key learning objective was to build and expand our understanding regarding different perspectives on health and housing in the health sector. What motivates individuals and organizations? What work is being done in the sector?

City and County Policies

City and County Policies: What are cities and counties doing to advance affordable multifamily energy efficiency and is it working? (Potential Product: A well-organized list of policies, programs, and practices from cities and counties across the country, as well as preliminary evidence of effectiveness)

Utility Program Innovations

Utility Programs: What wild new ideas are IOUs piloting for low-income multifamily energy efficiency, renewables and technology?

Equity and Inclusivity

Equity and Inclusivity in Energy Efficiency: Building off the work of the side-by-side advocacy challenge group, how can NEWHAB partners support increased engagement of tenant advocacy groups and tenants in utility regulation, including EE, IRP, and rate cases? What is already happening and what new ideas/methods are possible? (Potential Product: Case studies or list of examples of successful work with tenants/tenant advocacy; exploration of new ideas)

Tracking Federal Policy Change

Tracking Policy Changes: What federal policy changes are taking place or are likely to take place in the near future?

Program Design for Small Utilities

Smaller Utilities + Multifamily Programs: What are best practices and programs that smaller utilities use for affordable multifamily housing?

Advocacy with Tenants and Tenant Associations

Side-by-side Advocacy with Tenants/Tenant Associations: How can energy and affordable housing advocates successfully expand their coalitions/partnerships to do side-by-side advocacy work with tenants and/or tenant associations?

Health and Housing

Health and Housing: How can the concept of a Housing Prescription (Rx) be incorporated into a new or existing program?

Non-Energy Benefits

Non-Energy Benefits: How does implementing energy and water efficiency measures affect maintenance costs?

Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Utility Allowance 401

Assessing current utility allowance calculation methods and exploring ways to promote calculation methods that encourage energy efficiency investment.

Energy Equity

Energy Justice: Build off previous Challenge Group’s definitions document to expand roadmap for Energy Justice work by NEWHAB and allied organization


Benchmarking: After data is provided to owners, what further barriers to energy/water retrofits are preventing action?


Finance: Develop a matrix of different types of properties and how funding sources intersect with them, including ideal fits and barriers

Healthy Housing

Healthy Housing: How can the affordable multifamily community rehab/retrofit developments with coordination and financial help from the health community (insurance companies, hospitals, public health departments)?

Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Utility Allowance 301

Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Allowances (LIHTC) 301: Assessing current Housing Financing Agency practices, exploring ways to propagate the best ones - continuation of the Challenge group in partnership with NHLP, NHT, and New Ecology.

Resident Engagement

Resident Engagement: How can owners and property managers, and energy efficiency practitioners leverage behavioral science to engage residents around energy conservation?

Clean Power Plan

Develop model Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP) plan language to hand to state clean air agencies so they include strong components for low-income, multifamily energy efficiency programs.

Tenant protections

Tenant protections: Outline the core protections everyone can agree to. Write an “energy efficiency tenants bill of rights and protections”.

Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Utility Allowance 201

Low-Income Housing Tax Credit allowances 2.0: Assessing current Housing Finance Agency practices, exploring ways to propagate the best ones.

Research Salon

The Research Salon were organized sharing-oriented calls to help members strengthen knowledge and build off one another’s work.

Energy Justice Definitions

Define related terms and share with NEWHAB members to critique. Plan and host a conversation among NEWHAB members and additional key members, including funders and policymakers.

Health and Housing - Map of causal effects

Mapping out the causal pathway for health impacts of energy efficiency work in multifamily housing

Job Creation

Linking local job creation to housing improvements & maintenance

Building utility data access

Data Access: How Much Energy Do Buildings Use? Getting the Data: Balancing Privacy and Access

Utility Allowance: Low-Income Housing Tax Credit properties

Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) allowances: Assessing current Housing Finance Agency (HFA) practices, exploring ways to propagate the best ones.