Several energy efficiency retrofit programs for multifamily buildings have started up recently. New York, California and British Columbia are locations that I know of, but I'm sure there are others.  In addition, some of these regions are looking at updating their energy codes for multifamily buildings.  And layered on top on that are the multiple market conditions - for example landlord vs. tenant split incentives, tenant advocacy, investor, intermediary managers, IEQ - that can greatly affect our ability to retrofit multifamily buildings.  These are the issues and societal context within which we need to operate. Please share your stories and suggestions in this discussion thread.

 

Thanks.

Norm

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If you meter the tenants, reduce the rent by the electric budget and transfer the responsibility to pay to the tenants based on their actual use, then they have incentive to save because their savings go into their pockets.  They can choose to buy CFLs, for example, reduce their bills and keep the savings.  In New York, that process is mandatory if you submeter.
Thanks for the reply.  I have been directly involved in many NYSERDA and other studies to evaluate submetering since 1990 (I am not a vendor) and the savings in New York buildings has definitely held up to the 18-26% (or more) level.  You do NOT have to re-wire the building, though.  NYSERDA established several programs since the 1980's to test equipment that could meter apartments without re-wiring using powerline carrier communications within the building that worked well, and more recent wireless systems have been able to do it well - even TOU and interval metering - with wireless mesh network technology.  In some buildings the wiring is already in place such as in basements or utility rooms.  Even if not, meters can be placed in the apartments and read remotely by powerline carrier or wireless.  Yes, it does cost money, but paybacks under 5 years are typical in building complexes over 100 apartments as long as there is one metering point in the apartment.  NYSERDA co-sponsored a site that documents much of this - www.submeteronline.com

Add Vermont to the list. Efficiency Vermont started its Building Performance Program a little over a year ago, offering additional cash incentives for EE improvements to multi-family (>5 units) or mixed use (business & residential) buildings < 10,000 sq.ft. (with certain exclusions such as grocery stores and restaurants). They have also offered additional training for auditors to do blower door testing  with multiple blower doors, because they require a true before and after leakage rate to qualify for incentives. Therefore, all adjoining units to the one being tested must also be brought to the same (50 Pa) pressure difference in order to accurately measure leakage rate. I have a 7 unit apt to do this week. We will be using 3 blower doors because we cannot connect all units with a common hallway or doorways. I am about to schedule a 12 unit building that I estimate will take 5 blower doors to depressurize all adjoining areas and also be able to pull a 50 Pa pressure difference (it is a visibly leaky building).

The Division of Energy Services is winding up work in the AMP program, initiated in 2009 to complete comprehensive weatherization in 5,800 units of rented housing. The AMP program was funded with roughly $20 million of ARRA (American Reinvestment and Recovery Act) funding and State of Wisconsin Public Benefits funds.

DES is now working to develop strategies and plans to design and implement a follow-on program, to build on the success of the AMP program. While all this is very preliminary, it is likely that the follow-on program will be longer-lived and somewhat smaller in volume than the AMP program. It will likely implement longer timelines, to accommodate seasonal construction schedules.

The Division is planning to release two “Request For Information” documents soon, requesting input from a wide variety of entities that have experience in multifamily energy efficiency and construction. The RFIs will offer the opportunity for interested parties to provide information about program design, weatherization techniques and strategies, and service delivery structures.  

Your organization may have an interest in responding to one or both of these RFIs when they are released. If you would like to receive the RFI when it is released, please contact Mary Meunier in our office, at Mary.Meunier@wisconsin.gov .

Regards,

Don Hynek, Multifamily Weatherization Coordinator

don.hynek@wisconsin.gov

Wisconsin Division of Energy Services
101 E. Wilson St., 6th Floor, Madison, Wisconsin  53702

North Carolina is in implementation stage of a large scale multi-family weatherization program.  The program was the recipient of an extension of ARRA funds, and plans to address several thousand low to mid rise apartment units over the next six months.  I hope this program is able to pick up steam and continue on past the extension deadline.

 

On the new construction side, local utility companies are offering healthy incentives for developers to comply with Energy Star v. 3.

 

What other programs or strategies are you all seeing on the multi-family side?  It is a hard sell for many multi-family developers in my area, because of the lending environment, and desire to keep up front costs to a minimum at the sacrifice of sustainability/efficiency.

Joe,

My 30 years of experience in NYS' multifamily programs has taught me that if there is no incentive money available, very few property owners will participate. Affordable housing might act but that's because they are generally motivated by reductions in funding. WAP has been a great program, but when it comes to MF properties, there is only so far it can go. NYS has been providing funding for MF since 1982 in one form or another and while not all retrofits have been successes, the state has managed to make a dent in the sector's energy consumption using system benefit charge funds.

I had the opportunity to train some of NC's State and WAP folks this year and you've got a lot of talent, but very little MF experience. We held classes in Raleigh and trying to find an apartment complex with a boiler was very challenging. We ended up having a second field class in Asheville where one of our students knew somebody who knew somebody.... I would love to provide more training in North Carolina, it's a great state. Feel free to contact me directly at sdassociates@nycap.rr.com for more info.

Susan:

Unfortunately, you are correct - property owners in NY are conditioned to wait for a "sale" (incentives).  Even with a near-regular stream of submetering incentives offered by NYSERDA or Con Ed over the past 20 years, many still are not interested because it's too much trouble!  Coops are a better prospect since they all benefit from savings but rentals are burdened by fixed rent reductions that often do not resemble actual energy costs and no real benefit to landlords since the savings accrue to the tenants.  I am at joseph.lopes@dnvkema.com

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