King County Housing Authority (KCHA) was seeking a $15 million grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Capital Fund Recovery Competition to implement energy and water saving strategies throughout its low-incoming housing portfolio. Paladino was commissioned to investigate the current water and energy usage of 32 KCHA properties, including 300 senior housing, multifamily buildings, townhomes and single family homes, for a total of 2203 units, using a number of techniques such as energy modeling, engineering calculations and site audits to produce baseline consumption metrics for the properties.


Paladino investigated the water and energy usage of the properties, and input these metrics into modeling software to predict energy and water savings from a number of efficiency measures.

As the engineering support, Paladino’s tasks for KCHA included:

  • Facilitation of a multi-disciplinary team, on behalf of KCHA to develop responses to the ARRA request for proposals
  • Benchmarking current energy & water use at each property against other buildings in the portfolio using utility (Seattle City Light and Puget Sound Energy) data
  • Comparing baseline data with data from other housing authorities using the HUD Utility Benchmarking Tool. Properties were prioritized relative to the greatest opportunities for energy savings in order to enhance KCHA’s ability to compete with other housing authorities for funding
  • Property-by-property energy and water efficiency audits and contract document review to confirm current systems installed in residences and common areas at a sample of properties in the project
  • Developing standardized engineering calculations to evaluate which energy and water performance improvements warranted further analysis
  • Estimated contribution to energy savings from suggested renewable energy systems, including solar PV and solar thermal
  • Preparation of proposed measure summaries for each cohort of properties for KCHA to submit to HUD as technical evidence for the proposal
  • Generation of a construction and post installation commissioning and measurement & verification strategy in order to confirm savings occurred, fulfilling a requirement of the ARRA funding

Commissioning activities include installation inspection and performance verification as well as energy model recalibration. Systems impacted included: envelope (air barriers, doors, windows, insulation), plumbing fixtures, water heaters, heat pumps, ventilation systems, photovoltaics, solar thermal, domestic appliances, energy management controls.


The result is a package of validated strategies that will help King County Housing Authority achieve their resource savings goals while maintaining or even improving the well-being of residents by providing increased thermal comfort, improved air quality and lower utility bills.

Proposed measures include installation of insulated doors, double glazed windows and additional insulation; ENERGY STAR refrigerators in each unit and low-flow fixtures in both the units and common areas. The buildings are expected to save almost 30% water and 13-30% energy compared to a typical apartment building.

Once funded, KCHA will use three performance verification tools to maximize their savings—building commissioning; a holistic assessment of other potential measures such as sustainable landscape management and green operations and maintenance; and a resident education program.