Why Policy is Important
Utilities can be encouraged to pursue aggressive energy savings in multifamily buildings. Rules established by state regulatory commissions can enhance or impede utilities’ abilities to create comprehensive, robust multifamily energy efficiency programs and provide multifamily owners access to energy consumption data needed to make informed energy management decisions. Energy efficiency portfolio standards (EEPS) and public benefit funds (PBF) that set utility energy savings and funding targets are solutions that drive energy efficiency investment in multifamily housing. Local governments can spur increased investment in multifamily energy efficiency by making it a priority in franchise negotiations with utilities.
Energy Efficiency For All educates stakeholders about the benefits of energy-efficient multifamily buildings and shares analysis, best practices, and examples of success to help them make smart policy choices.
- Set aggressive energy savings targets. States can establish aggressive energy efficiency goals through EEPS, PBFs, or by requiring utilities to incorporate energy efficiency in their integrated resource planning process. States should also allow utilities to earn a rate of return on energy efficiency or performance bonuses for exceeding mandated energy savings targets.
- Require utilities to allot a fair share of expenditures to multifamily programs. As the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissions has urged, regulators should determine if utility programs are fairly serving the affordable multifamily sector so that they, too, can reap the health and financial benefits of energy efficiency.
- Enable utilities to offer comprehensive multifamily energy efficiency programs. States can allow utilities to develop whole-building, multi-fuel energy efficiency programs that achieve significant energy savings. These include the following:
- Cost-effectiveness tests should incorporate the value of non-energy benefits and be applied at the portfolio level. Evaluations should also measure benefits accrued over the full life of an improvement.
- Separate electric and gas utilities with overlapping service territories should be required to coordinate program implementation.
- Allowances should be granted for claiming energy savings that result from taking advantage of other funding sources, such as affordable housing programs.
- Establish data-sharing protocols that enable multifamily owners to obtain whole-building energy consumption data while protecting residents’ privacy. Owners need whole-building energy consumption data so that they can identify opportunities for improved energy management and investments in energy efficiency. Access to data should be provided such that reasonable privacy concerns are addressed and building owners are not subject to undue burdens.