New water heating system could improve multi-family residential efficiency

June 18
12:00 p.m. PDT

Introducing energy-efficiency into the residential rental market is a continual challenge to utility program managers, but a new technology has shown promise for reducing energy use in large multi-family buildings. Join the Emerging Technologies Showcase series on June 18 at 12:00 p.m. PDT to learn about Reverse Cycle ChillersRedirecting to a non-government site.

The free webinar will feature speakers from Seattle City Light discussing the new type of heat pump hot water heating system. The presentation includes case studies of a few Seattle projects, lessons learned, best practices, initial data on verified energy use, as well as the technology itself.

Western supports the Emerging Technologies showcase, sponsored by the Bonneville Power Administration. The monthly webinars bring you the latest information about new energy-efficiency technologies and practices that may be available commercially to help utilities meet their planning, environmental and budgeting goals. All webinars are recorded and available on the E3T websiteRedirecting to a non-government site and ConduitRedirecting to a non-government site.

ACEEE report offers utilities ways to reach underserved multifamily customers

More than 20 million U.S. families live in apartment or condo buildings, a market that is often underserved by energy efficiency programs. Apartment Hunters: Programs Searching for Energy Savings in Multifamily Buildings Redirecting to a non-government site, a new report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), offers advice to utilities on how to deliver energy efficiency to their multifamily customers.

Multifamily building residents and owners often miss out on energy-efficiency programs because this market sector can be more challenging to reach than large commercial buildings and single-family homes. An earlier ACEEE report showed that in many metropolitan areas, multifamily housing’s share of energy-efficiency program dollars is much smaller than their share of the housing market. Yet, these buildings offer tremendous opportunities to reduce energy use and carbon pollution, save owners money and provide assistance to lower-income consumers. The new report describes energy-saving strategies that utilities can follow to start new multifamily programs or strengthen existing ones.

Report author Kate Johnson observed that, although barriers exist, they are not made of stone. “By following the best practices described in this report, utilities can break through to owners and tenants of multifamily buildings,” she said. “Many of them are unknowingly wasting large of amounts of money.”

ACEEE looked at several successful programs already offered by energy utilities and state program administrators. The programs, typically funded by utility customers through their monthly bills, provide services and financial incentives to help businesses and households reduce energy use. 

The paper will also be the centerpiece of a White House sponsored discussion that will launch an expansion of the Energy Department’s (DOE) Better Buildings Initiative. President Obama’s Climate Action Plan has called for the initiative to include multifamily buildings for the first time. DOE and the Department of Housing and Urban Development organized the event to bring together ACEEE’s utility partners and leading owners of multifamily housing.  Participants are pledging to reduce energy consumption across their building portfolios by 20 percent within 10 years. Read moreSource: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, 12/2/13

ACEEE report finds energy-efficiency upgrades a win-win for apartment owners, tenants

 Engaging as Partners in Energy Efficiency: Multifamily Housing and Utilities, a new report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), demonstrates that energy use in multifamily buildings could be cut significantly to save building owners and residents as much as $3.4 billion nationwide . Cost-effective energy-efficiency upgrades in buildings with five or more residential units could also reduce utility costs for those buildings by 15 to 30 percent.

Energy-efficiency upgrades improve the bottom line for multifamily building owners and improve comfort for occupants. Such building improvements also help to maintain the value of affordable housing and decrease financial risk for lending institutions. However, building owners face the usual barriers to implementing retrofits: difficulty finding technical assistance, financing, or qualified contractors.

According to the report, better coordination between apartment building owners and energy utilities is the key to unlocking the savings. The study produced by CNT Energy for ACEEE finds that there is a largely untapped opportunity for utilities to engage the multifamily sector with energy-efficiency programs tailored to those customers’ needs.

Anne McKibbin, CNT Energy policy director and coauthor of the report, stated that partnering with utilities is central to the process. “Building owners and other housing industry players need to work with their utilities, engaging them directly and in local and state regulatory proceedings,” she said.

ACEEE senior policy analyst Eric Mackres concurred with McKibbin about the crucial role utilities play, while acknowledging that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. He added that the report outlines a variety of strategies that can help the multifamily housing sector to engage electric and natural gas utilities. 

You can download Engaging as Partners in Energy Efficiency: Multifamily Housing and Utilities from ACEEE with free registration. Learn more about the report by joining the webinar, Engaging as Partners in Energy Efficiency, Feb. 13 at 1 p.m. CST. Call 773-269-4037 for more information.