Engaging the media is critical to educating the public about the value of energy efficiency investments in low-income multifamily housing. But how do you ensure that journalists have the background they need to understand and report accurately on the issue?
EEFA continues to make progress in providing energy efficiency to multifamily housing. Take a look at some exciting state coalition updates:
The Low-Income Weatherization Program, run by the state’s Community Services Development Department and funded by cap-and-trade auction revenue, received a new allocation of $18 million to serve affordable multifamily housing in the state’s designated disadvantaged communities--largely due to extensive EEFA coalition advocacy over the last several months. Earlier rounds of funding had been fully spent and the new funding will go to serve the over 75 properties and thousands of low-income households currently on the waiting list. The Low-Income Weatherization program utilizes a one-stop shop model, provides integrated energy efficiency and solar offerings, and has achieved an average of 44 percent energy savings per property served.
The first utility multifamily working group launched in August thanks to extensive efforts by the EEFA coalition. Utilities presented on their program designs for the new $80 million program. Utilities are all proposing to 100% fund all common area measures in subsidized/rent-restricted affordable housing. EEFA coalition filed a petition to modify the low-income Energy Savings Assistant (ESA) November decision to ensure the working group provides an avenue for meaningful public input on the MF program designs authorized by the last proceeding and clear deadlines for the program’s development. The EEFA coalition also submitted protests to utilities’ advice letters implementing certain elements of the decision. The EEFA coalition is actively working and coordinating with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure the new multifamily element of the program is launched and well-designed.
In its 2016 Integrated Resource Plan, Georgia Power committed to developing a whole-building data access program. In August, Georgia Power launched the Automated Benchmarking Tool (ABT) to provide commercial and multifamily property owners with aggregate electricity usage data. EEFA-GA members Southface and NHT, along with the Southern Environmental Law Center and The Greenlink Group, worked closely with Georgia Power to help inform the development of the ABT, promoting ease of use for multifamily owners and managers, and ensuring compatibility with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Data provided through the ABT will allow property owners to track the energy usage of their properties, and make data-driven investments in energy efficiency that can lower operating expenses, free up capital for other building improvements, maintain affordable rents, and improve the health and comfort of residents. If you are an owner or manager in Georgia Power’s service territory and have signed up for data access through the ABT, please feel free to provide any feedback to Dana Bartolomei at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organized and led by Elevate Energy, Illinois EEFA hosted a building tour with one of their U.S. Representatives in August in support of affordable and energy efficient rental housing! Congressman Mike Quigley (representing the 5th district of IL) and two of his staffers visited one of Elevate Energy’s retrofitted projects on the Northwest side of the Chicago. During the tour, Congressman Quigley had the opportunity to engage with the contractors that performed the work, he property manager, Elevate Energy staffers, and IL EEFA Coalition members. The tour was successful in relaying the importance of the local utility energy efficiency programs, as well as federal housing and energy programs. The congressman is well positioned to continue being a strong ally on EEFA related issues in the future. IL EEFA has another Elevate Energy led building tour planned at the end of September with Senator Tammy Duckworth’s office.
Governor Greitens signed SB 112, a modification to the Missouri Energy Efficiency Act into law, officially removing the Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) restriction in MO. Previous to the passage of the new legislation, multifamily buildings that received either LIHTCs or Historic Preservation Tax Credits were ineligible to participate in utility run energy efficiency programs. Under the new law, this Housing Credit exclusion has been eliminated.
Dominion Energy's EnergyShare weatherization program hit a major milestone with nearly 15,000 multifamily residences receiving energy efficiency upgrades. When Dominion Energy launched the program in September 2015, EEFA's Virginia Multifamily Energy Efficiency Coalition jumped into action to ensure that residents of affordable multifamily housing were eligible to participate. An impact study of the program found that the average multifamily household will save approximately 687 kilowatt hours per year. This equates to an average annual savings of approximately 7 percent.