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Catalyzing Efficiency: Unlocking Energy Information and Value in Apartment Buildings

Catalyzing Efficiency: Unlocking Energy Information and Value in Apartment Buildings Download PDF
Publication Date: 2016 Author: Megan Houston Program Area:Finance & Real Estate

Increasing the energy efficiency of America’s multifamily buildings could save building owners and managers, residents, governments, energy efficiency service providers, and financiers close to $3.4 billion in annual savings. Recognizing this, Catalyzing Efficiency: Unlocking Energy Information and Value in Apartment Buildings explores how governments and energy efficiency implementers could help these stakeholders better analyze and act upon building performance data to unlock these savings. This report was made possible with the generous support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Close to 38 million people live in multifamily housing in the United States (buildings containing five or more units) composing almost 18.5 million households . In recent years, data about how these buildings and units are using energy and water has become more broadly available as 11 cities and the state of California have adopted benchmarking and transparency policies that require multifamily building owners to track and report their buildings’ energy and water usage. These laws are designed to give owners and the market better information on buildings’ energy use while also helping policymakers, energy efficiency implementers, and lenders craft programs and incentives for energy efficiency investments. Despite this, many of the country’s multifamily buildings remain inefficient.

Catalyzing Efficiency: Unlocking Energy Information and Value in Apartment Buildings finds that the data is still in its infancy in catalyzing efficiency investments. Most owners and managers comply with benchmarking and transparency laws but don’t act upon the data to achieve greater efficiency and improve their bottom line. Residents lack access to this information when apartment shopping, and investors and appraisers lack valuation context, often leading them to undervalue and under-invest in efficient buildings. Until multifamily stakeholders work together to use and value building performance data effectively in consistent, transparent formats, energy and water efficiency opportunities will remain unrealized.

Catalyzing Efficiency: Unlocking Energy Information and Value in Apartment Buildings provides concrete recommendations on how governments and energy efficiency implementers can better engage owners, managers, residents, lenders, and investors in using data to drive energy and water savings. Challenges addressed include data access issues that prevent multifamily owners and managers from gathering adequate data; market confusion over how benchmarking data can be deployed to spur and track efficiency investments; barriers preventing residents from factoring performance into their apartment decision-making process; and the fact that most lenders and investors do not yet factor building performance data into their standard business practices.

This report builds upon findings from IMT's 2012 report "Energy Transparency in the Multifamily Housing Sector," which served as a guide for policymakers and multifamily stakeholders on benchmarking and transparency rules and regulations.

Click right to download the full Catalyzing Efficiency report.

Click here to download the executive summary.

Click here to download the press release.

Click below to watch webinars reviewing the report's key findings and recommendations in depth for the following audiences: