Multifamily

Multifamily

Thirty-five percent of all households now rent, and more than 60% of all rental housing, totaling 30 million households, is in the multifamily sector. However, efficiency measures are far less likely to be installed in multifamily rentals than in any other type of housing, leaving significant energy savings unrealized. Studies estimate that energy efficiency could cut the multifamily affordable housing sector’s electricity usage by as much as 26%. The share of low-cost rental units continues to decline either through gentrification, removals or rent increases. As a result, 24% of U.S. renter households—about 20 million—now spend more than 50% of their annual income on housing. Energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades serve as an effective strategy to slow these trends and preserve affordability.

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Utility Benchmarking

This comprehensive guide to multifamily utility benchmarking includes links to key resources and requirements, tools and reports, case studies, and FAQs.

Multifamily COVID-19 Resources

Dealing with COVID-19 presents an unprecedented scenario for multifamily housing providers. The Better Buildings Multifamily Team has compiled a list of resources to support housing providers and help them disseminate critical information to staff and residents.

On-Demand Webinars

Watch all previously recorded webinars in the On-Demand Webinars library sorted by popular topics such as resilience, zero energy buildings, and more.

Featured Solutions

Wishrock Investment Group leveraged the EZ Retrofit Assessment Tool to identify cost effective energy upgrades and create a utility efficiency action plan resulting in improvements at 4 facilities.
In an effort to conserve water and reduce costs for both the company and the residents, Foundation Communities invested in a three-year AmeriCorps VISTA project through NeighborWorks America to develop a water consumption monitoring system and resident education program.
A lack of finances prevented retrofits on a portfolio-wide scale as well as the capacity needed to work with all partners involved. CHA applied for HUD’s Energy Performance Contracting program, which allows PHAs to partner with an ESCO to perform energy- and water-saving upgrades. The upgrades resulted in over $480,000 in cost savings to residents.
BRIDGE Housing upgraded common areas to more energy-efficient spaces with retrofits to lighting, plug loads, and more. These cost-saving measures replaced outdated, inefficient equipment and reduced electricity consumption.
Redding House II is a low-income multifamily housing complex of 12 units built in 1987 that provides affordable housing for developmentally disabled adults, operated by the Retirement Housing Foundation (RHF). The property had several deferred maintenance...
To complete the renovation of St. Joseph Village, Wesley Housing pursued upgrades to the building envelope and replaced existing equipment with energy-efficient fixtures.
Eden Housing constructed the 44-unit low-rise Camphora Apartments in 2016, achieving net-zero electricity and LEED-H Platinum certified affordable housing status for performing 80% more efficiently than the state energy code.
This webinar highlighted case studies of innovative partnerships between affordable housing providers, public health, and building science stakeholders to advance energy + health initiatives.
Learn replicable approaches from three Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) – all Better Buildings partners – for surmounting the financial barriers that often prevent PHAs from pursuing energy and water efficiency retrofits.
This webinar provided participants with real-world resiliency planning frameworks that can serve as models for property owners and managers. Panelists discussed how to make the business case, assess risks by region, and prioritize projects.
Trinity Housing Corporation of Greeley, Colorado, partnered with Oak Leaf Energy Partners to join a 2,000 kW DC community solar garden and receive bill credits for the electricity produced by their share of the array.

Other Resources

General

Access technical resources, policy guidance, planning tools, and other resources to improve the energy and water performance of your multifamily housing portfolio.

Implementation Models

Rockford Housing Authority developed a program, modeled on SEED, to create a culture of energy efficiency through different types of resident programming; as a result residents consume less energy and are better prepared for STEM-related careers.
Trinity Management hired a third-party benchmarking provider and trained property managers to monitor energy consumption at their sites, engaging staff and supporting the company's effort to reduce portfolio-wide energy consumption.
Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority (Lucas MHA) partnered with a third-party software provider to obtain in-depth energy data and continuous monitoring of energy performance for approximately 2.3 million square feet of affordable housing.
Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation worked with residents to achieve energy savings by implementing physical building upgrades as well as resident education to establish a baseline for utility allowance and transition utility bills to residents.
Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) is leveraging new and existing partnerships to increase energy literacy and STEM education of its residents, helping to strengthen the local workforce and create jobs for residents.
Hempstead Housing Authority collaborated with community stakeholders and public health services to measure the impact of weatherization upgrades by using pre- and post-weatherization tenant health surveys.
Palatka Housing Authority employed Energy Performance Contracting to make quality-of-life improvements that "pay for themselves" through energy and water savings while enhancing the homes of residents.
Tampa Housing Authority (THA) incorporates resident education and training to strengthen the local workforce and maximize results of newly invested energy efficiency technologies, helping the city reach energy reduction goals.
Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) used a Basis of Design (BOD) tool to set requirements for quality materials and efficient system design to be implemented during development and maintenance of properties across their portfolio. This resulted in lower energy and water costs, improved maintenance procedures, and cost savings in bulk purchasing.
Tampa Housing Authority successfully created a utility data sharing protocol and a process for regularly uploding property data into ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to better manage energy performance across its 3.2 million square feet of multifamily housing.
The Housing Authority of the City and County of Denver (DHA) joined the SEED pilot program in 2014 to prepare public housing residents for technical jobs by increasing energy literacy, providing learning opportunities, and connecting residents to training so they may pursue energy careers.
MHA successfully navigated HUD’s rules to secure more than $8 million for the rehabilitation of Apartment Towers.
National Church Residences standardized procedures and eligibility criteria for a portfolio wide lighting retrofit.
Using tools and resources from peers and partners, Jonathan Rose Companies is conducting detailed property resilience assessments and incorporating recommended measures into its retrofit and capital improvements strategy.

Presentations

Get a rundown of ACEEE's nationwide study of utility provider incentives for the multifamily buildings sector, as well as a broad overview of other sources of funds for energy and water conservation.
In this session, multifamily partners presented innovative, outside-the-box strategies for collecting tenant energy consumption data, ranging from how to obtain tenant consent for sharing data to embarking on a portfolio-wide campaign to collect 100% whole property data.

Showcase Projects

Cambridge Housing Authority achieved 60% energy savings at the Frank J. Manning Apartments, a public housing high-rise, by upgrading the building envelope and windows and installing LED lighting, a CHP cogeneration system, and a condensing gas plant and chiller.
The Philadelphia Housing Authority's new headquarters is designed for high performance and to achieve 30% energy savings and LEED-NC certification.
Bayview Towers is a 200-unit affordable apartment complex in Stamford, CT. Significant renovations by The NHP Foundation included a comprehensive boiler upgrade and an expected 25% in energy savings.
Schochet Companies implemented efficiency upgrades at Shepherd Park Apartments in Hartford, Connecticut, including boiler upgrades, replacement of hot water circulation pumps, unit air sealing, lighting upgrades, and water conservation measures. It also received over $170,000 through a local utility incentive program.
Danville Development conducted upgrades to this low-income senior community to improve both the property's energy performance and residents' quality of life. The measures reduced energy use by 23% and saved over $15,000 annually.
Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation (CSNDC) reduced energy use by nearly 20% after implementing energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades at Washington Columbia #1 an #2, adjacent affordable housing properties in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
JPNDC: Julia Martin House Showcase Project
Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) in Massachusetts partnered with Peabody and the state's Low-Income Energy Affordability Network (LEAN) to upgrade the boilers, lighting, and irrigation, achieving 18% energy savings.
Atlantic Gardens, built in 1948, consists of 108 apartments occupied primarily by families making below 60% of the area median income, recently underwent a renovation that yielded 28% energy savings and 19% water savings. 
Boston Housing Authority used finance upgrades under a Rental Assistance Demonstration conversion to achieve a 30% energy savings at the St. Botolph Apartments.
EBALDC: Casa Arabella Showcase Project
Casa Arabella, a 94-unit affordable housing apartment community from East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC), was designed to exceed California’s Title 24 energy code by 13% and to achieve an 18% energy savings above ASHRAE standards.
Eden Housing constructed the 44-unit low-rise Camphora Apartments in 2016, achieving net-zero electricity and LEED-H Platinum certified affordable housing status for performing 80% more efficiently than the state energy code.
With the help of a HUD RAD conversion, Court Tower Apartments in downtown Newark, New Jersey, funded an $8 million rehabilitation project that included numerous energy efficiency upgrades for 30% energy savings.
REACH Community Development Corporation partnered with MPower to invest $280,000 in upgrades at its Westshore Apartments property including LED lighting, occupancy sensors, and improved insulation, achieving 14% annual energy savings.
Mercy Housing reduced energy use by more than 20% at its 50-unit affordable housing property 205 Jones Street by implementing several energy efficiency measures including switching to electric heat pumps, installing LED lighitng, improving insulation, and upgrading to ENERGY STAR® appliances.
Community Roots Housing's Brewster Apartments, in Seattle, is a 1916-era multifamily building that improved energy performance by 26% with building envelope upgrades and air source heat pumps.
Island Grove Village Showcase Project
Trinity Housing developed a long-range plan to reduce their overall energy and water consumption through a variety of funding sources, resulting in 20% energy savings and 18% water savings.

Videos

Better Buildings Challenge Multifamily partners, Goal Achievers, and other stakeholders shared best practices, celebrated accomplishments, and discussed strategies for multifamily housing providers to save energy and water and preserve affordable housing....
This highly interactive session examined current opportunities and challenges around financing efficiency upgrades in affordable multifamily housing. Panelists spotlighted successful and replicable new approaches and dialogue with participants to identify obstacles.
This session spotlighted different pathways to maximize energy performance in new construction while overcoming typical challenges that affordable housing developers face.

Webinars

This webinar demonstrated the use of a planning tool developed by Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) that helped you create a strategy for reaching energy or water reduction targets for your portfolio, sort through different conservations options, and make informed choices that demonstrate to decision-makers a concrete path to success.
Interested in taking a proactive approach to protecting indoor air quality (IAQ) while boosting energy efficiency in your multifamily building? This webinar will take you through the steps of getting started.
This webinar highlighted how to seek out technical experts and financing options for saving energy and water while protecting your interests.

Sector Priorities

Meet the Sector Committee Chair