Boston Area Multifamily Partners Discuss Utility Data Collection

By David Ruggiero, ICF on Jan 02, 2018

The Boston area is home to an impressive and active number of Better Buildings Challenge Multifamily Partners. Hailing from the public, affordable, and market-rate housing domains, these partners have combined assets of more than 61 million square feet of developed space and approximately 80,000 apartments. In addition to their geographic proximity, they share many utility benchmarking and operational challenges, as well as the services of a locally-based benchmarking data service provider, WegoWise.

On December 18, 2017, eight of these partners gathered in Cambridge to discuss their BBC benchmarking successes, industry challenges, and energy efficiency strategies.

Building upon the recent successes of the HUD-sponsored BBC Multifamily Year of Data drive, the partners addressed ongoing data-gathering and reporting issues that persist in the multifamily sector. WegoWise senior client manager Tate Molaghan provided information about efforts to resolve campus and parent/child reporting issues that exist between the WegoWise and Portfolio Manager platforms. Namely, properties consisting of many buildings with at least one shared utility meter require unique and dedicated identifiers within Portfolio Manager in order to generate a single EUI rating or ENERGY STAR score.

Also present was Beacon Communities consultant and New Ecology Inc. Vice President Lauren Baumann, who reported on the continuing efforts of the two largest Boston area utility companies, Eversource and National Grid, to provide easier access to aggregated whole building data.

Both the platform resolution issues and the expanded aggregated data sharing portals are reportedly on track for completion before the April Better Buildings reporting deadline.

Besides data, partners discussed the challenges of finding qualified maintenance staff, operating integrated energy efficiency systems, and effectively utilizing benchmarking results. A second meeting is planned for early March to coincide with the 2018 BBC data drive.

Photo: Pictured from left to right: Claire McLeish, WegoWise; Alden Poole, Wishrock Investment Group; Josh Cohen, Beacon Communities; Bennett Courrier-Oaster, WegoWise; Tate Molaghan, WegoWise; Peter Lewis, Schochet Companies; Tabetha McCartney, Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly; Lauren Baumann, New Ecology Inc. and Lara Seltzer; The Community Builders, Inc.