Multifamily energy efficiency spending nearly triples in four years

Jay Owen Resource Efficiency


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Multifamily energy efficiency spending nearly triples in four years

By Stefen Samarripas, Research Analyst, Local Policy

Today, one in six American households reside in the apartments or condominiums of multifamily buildings. While new multifamily buildings are being constructed across the country, most residents still live in older buildings that are not energy-efficient. ACEEE’s newly released report provides encouraging news for apartment and condo dwellers who want to reduce the cost of their energy bills. Utility-sector energy efficiency programs that serve these buildings have nearly tripled their spending in recent years. While these programs still face challenges, many are expanding the products and services they offer to upgrade buildings.


Addressing the Challenge of Retrofitting America’s Multifamily Buildings


Historically, energy efficiency programs have not sufficiently served the multifamily sector. As ACEEE identified in a report last year, it can be difficult to effectively market efficiency programs to the owners and managers of multifamily buildings, who face many competing priorities for their time and resources. They may find it difficult to navigate an efficiency program’s application process or obtain financing for upgrades. Program managers have also struggled to convey the total benefits of efficiency upgrades, which can include not only energy savings but also reduced operation and maintenance costs, improved tenant satisfaction, and healthier indoor environments.


Multifamily Energy Efficiency is Improving


ACEEE’s new report More Savings for More Residents: Progress in Multifamily Housing Energy Efficiency, examines energy efficiency programs serving the 51 metro areas with the most multifamily households. It documents those programs that have successfully tackled the above challenges and expanded their capacity to serve the multifamily market. In 2015, these programs spent $291 million in the nation’s largest multifamily markets to provide incentives and no-cost measures that upgrade apartment and condo buildings. This level of spending is nearly triple the spending that ACEEE estimated in its 2013 report, Scaling Up Multifamily Energy Efficiency Programs: A Metropolitan Area Assessment. Not only has spending increased, but it also occupies a greater share of many utility-sector energy efficiency budgets as seen on the map below…

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