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Nine strategies for utilities to design multifamily energy-efficiency programs

May 1, 2013 - In the report, Engaging as Partners: Introducing Utilities to the Energy Efficiency Needs of Multifamily Buildings and Their Owners, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and CNT Energy examine the factors that contribute to effective energy efficiency program design for multifamily buildings. The report also recommends strategies that can help utilities design and implement energy-efficiency programs to attract multifamily building owners and achieve significant energy savings.


May 1, 2013
By Alyssa Dalton

“There is enormous opportunity to achieve energy savings in the multifamily sector, and utilities have an important role to play in delivering effective energy efficiency programs,” said Anne McKibbin, policy director for CNT Energy. “Utilities need to work with the multifamily sector to design programs that address the barriers that prevent multifamily building owners from investing in energy efficiency upgrades.”

Collectively, U.S. building owners and tenants spent nearly $22 billion on energy in 2009, an average of $1141 per household, noted ACEEE, adding that if the best current multifamily energy efficiency programs were expanded, they could save up to $3.4 billion per year.

Key recommendations for utilities include designing programs that address the diverse needs of different segments of the multifamily housing markets, making rebates easy to understand and access, and coordinating programs offered by natural gas and electric utilities. In addition, the report stressed the importance of developing programs that overcome the split incentive that occurs in rental housing where building owners are responsible for the costs of efficiency upgrades while tenants pay their own utility bills and reap the benefits of those upgrades.

“The strategies outlined in the report offer utilities a roadmap that can help them capitalize on the enormous opportunity for energy savings that exists in the multifamily housing sector,” said ACEEE.

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“Energy efficiency can make a huge difference in the bottom line for multifamily building owners,” continued Kate Johnson, ACEEE senior policy analyst. “In addition to lower utility bills, owners have happier tenants because units are more comfortable. That means lower tenant turnover and higher occupancy rates, which also makes a big impact on cash flow for building owners.”
 
CLICK HERE to read the report.