As utilities look to expand energy efficiency savings while navigating increasingly complex legislation and regulations, few areas are as rich with potential as the multifamily segment.
In a recent study conducted by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and CNT Energy, retrofit programs were shown to improve the efficiency of multifamily buildings by 30% for natural gas and 15% for electricity.
At Ecova, we’re hearing more and more interest from utilities wanting to reach this market, and for good reason―the savings are impressive. Despite the growing interest, proven savings potential, and the fact that funding for energy efficiency programs is projected to increase dramatically by 2025, few utilities have programs designed to address the specific needs of the multifamily market.
Two common hurdles can prevent utilities from running successful multifamily programs: Convincing property owners to participate and developing the program independent of commercial programs.
Property owners are sometimes hesitant to invest when they are not fully responsible for energy costs and may not understand how they can benefit from the savings. On the utility side, multifamily initiatives often fall under commercial programs, which may not be tailored to the specific energy efficiency needs of multifamily properties, leaving a lot of savings on the table.
Effective programs overcome these obstacles through comprehensive service both to tenants and property owners. A focus on customer engagement that brings multiple disparate contractors under one simple contact point increases customer participation and satisfaction. Also critical to the comprehensive service solution is strong relationship management. Once relationships are developed and nurtured, early results from smaller measures like CFLs can help property owners become less hesitant to invest in more capital-intensive projects which are where the larger savings are realized.
Whether you’re thinking of implementing a new program or wanting to expand a current multifamily program, be sure it’s comprehensive and that you’re thinking long-term. Customer engagement, satisfaction and relationship-building can ultimately pay off in big savings.
For six years, Ecova has partnered with Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to run a successful comprehensive multifamily program which boasts 34,057,769 kWh savings from direct install measures alone. The program now sees most of its savings from larger shell measures. For more information, read our recent PSE Multifamily Case Study.
Learn more about Ecova's solutions for utility companies.
Watch a recording of our recent Multifamily Programs webinar below and subscribe to receive evites to our new Smart Energy Efficiency webinar series.