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Building Owner Opportunities

Building Owner Opportunities

To maximize the efficiency potential in multifamily affordable rental properties, building owners and operators must be willing to make much-needed improvements to their buildings. However, building owners do not always have access to the information they need to feel confident that the benefits from energy efficiency improvements will outweigh the time and costs required to make such improvements. Fortunately, several strategies are available to overcome this challenge.

Our priorities

  1. Provide building owners easy access to energy consumption data. Owners need consumption data to assess the efficiency of their properties. Utilities and Public Utility Commissions can take actions to improve access to data. One important measure they can take to ease access is not to require consent to release the data from all building residents.
  2. Make benchmarking tools available so that poor performing properties can be identified. Benchmarking allows building owners to compare the energy usage of their properties with similar properties and target the poorest performing buildings. Utilities can encourage owners to use such tools by automatically uploading energy usage data to benchmarking platforms such as WegoWise.
  3. Foster partnerships between utilities and housing finance agencies.

Examples of Tools and Information for Building Owners

  • In 2010, several Massachusetts utilities began benchmarking energy usage in low-income buildings as part of their implementation of a comprehensive multifamily retrofit program. Utilities used New Ecology’s WegoWise online application to collect and analyze the data. By 2011, the utilities had inventoried and ranked more than 6,300 gas and electric utility accounts. They are using the data to more effectively capture the potential market by allocating funds to the least-efficient buildings among all those eligible for funding. The significant savings potential identified through the benchmarking has provided the utilities the confidence to invest more in this sector.
  • The Michigan State Housing Development Authority has launched a utility tracking pilot to monitor electricity use in 72 developments. The pilot will track both site- and tenant-paid utilities, which will help identify developments that can lower operating costs, assist in the underwriting process of developments, and accurately calculate the developments’ actual resident utility allowances.
  • ComEd in Illinois created the Energy Usage Data System (EUDS) to streamline and simplify access to energy usage data. EUDS allows a customer to receive electronically historical energy data for an entire building. Data can be automatically uploaded into benchmarking programs such as ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. The ease of use of the system has stimulated significant interest among building owners in tracking energy usage.
EEFA National Factsheet

Increasing the energy efficiency of rental housing saves energy, improves residents’ health and comfort, and maintains reasonable rents. This helps families, communities, and affordable building owners. 

PA EEFA

Progress has been made toward increasing the energy efficiency of Pennsylvania’s multifamily housing, but opportunities for significant additional energy savings are being missed.

NY EEFA

Affordable rental housing is critical for New Yorkers, but many apartments are in need of repair and come with high energy bills.

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EEFA commissioned this study to estimate the potential energy savings from the implementation of efficiency measures in affordable multifamily housing in nine states — Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina,

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12 best practices for policymakers, regulators, and program administrators to effectively reach the multifamily affordable housing sector.