Annually, over $20 million is spent on energy for the different types of buildings such as apartments and condos that exist in the United States. There are over 18 million of these types of buildings in the United States with over half of them being rented by tenants. Tenants of the apartment find it hard to get utilities like single-family homes to do for a number of reasons such as there are no wireless smart meters for each apartment and there are cost and benefits interruptions. The interruptions occur due to the fact that there are no incentives for investing in improving apartments they are renting.
Landlords, on the other hand, do not see the need to help increase the energy efficiency of their property which will help decrease the utility bills of their tenants and this causes a barrier between landlord and tenant. Another issue is the fact that efficiency investments take years before it starts yielding returns and this will serve as a deterrent for owners who would want to sell their buildings at the right time.
It is true that multifamily housing comes with a number of pitfalls, but this is a blessing in disguise. It also offers immense room for improvements, especially in the area of multifamily dwelling efficiency. This is in accordance with the recently released report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and CNT Energy. The report from CNT energy and ACEEE states that the country’s energy savings will increase to $3.3 billion annually if the best utility efficiency practices used are developed nationwide and they believe that there are more improvements that will follow.
There are nine plans that were laid out in the report and these plans have worked well in the real world. In addition to this, some important utility project case studies were cited. One of the mentioned projects is the CNT Energy efficiency program for low-income communities. Also, the Public Facility’s Multifamily Energy Efficiency Program of Arizona State was mentioned. The nine strategies from the report are outlined below.
This basically should serve as a notice to identify your apartment’s building stock. The report states that dividing the multifamily home market into different building types, split incentive buildings, and ages will help increase energy efficiency as well as upgrade the service. The important details provided there can also be used to fashion novel strategies which will aptly address the obstacles to program participation. In addition to this, it will serve in making sure that utilities are made available for the best types of buildings.
According to ACEEE, building owners and landlords can replace their main HVAC systems and key appliances once every decade or two especially when they are in need of repair. It is at this moment that split incentive barriers can be conquered with utility efficiency incentives that are targeted. These incentives can either be provided in the course of the replacement or after it has been done in form of support. In the report provided, two models were presented. The Multifamily Energy Efficiency Rebate program in California in addition to the Multifamily Rebate program in Austin.
Coordinating a gas and electricity program will improve the energy efficiency of the multifamily market and these programs should be made easy like rebate application processes. Just like what Indianapolis Power and Light Company and Citizens Gas did, the program should have a single installation of a combination of both gas and electricity.
There are two approaches laid out by ACEEE and they are the “comprehensive trade ally system” tactics and the direct model which makes a single point of contact available for the property owner and integrates program administration. Combine Broad and Straight-forward Install Solutions
There are two main tracks utilities run to, the broad HVAC and building shell type upgrades track and the market light bulb indications and rebates for Energy Star appliances track. Combining these two tracks according to ACEEE will pick up the efficiency drive feedback on others and direct installation solutions are the best way of getting undecided homeowners involved in energy efficiency.
Rebates should be made accessible and easy for renters and landlords alike to stop them from jumping from one program to the other looking for the most favorable program that will get them a major bang.
The reports state that development organizations, local housing establishments, government agencies, and non-profit agencies make good partners to collaborate with.
Most landlords and homeowners want to know what’s in it for them and the report state that the benefits of efficiency upgrade should include utility bills savings, reductions in maintenance cost and reduced tenant gross revenue. However, most homeowners are more concerned with verifying these data and metrics. The city of New York and San Francisco are major examples of cities that have homeowners who have benefited greatly from upgrading their efficiency programs and disclosure mandates. The report envisages that normalized forms that share information on open energy such as Green Button data will play a huge role in providing the data needed by homeowners to convince them to take the step.
There are a large number of multifamily industry players in the multifamily market to work with despite the fact that small-scale businesses and local families own most rental houses in the US. The major giants in the industry comprise property owner, developers and public housing agencies. Housing advocates who represent tenants, contractors, efficiency service companies, and multifamily project public and financial sponsors are also key multifamily market players and working with them is a good way of increasing the energy efficiency as stated by the report.