Multifamily properties represent a deep reservoir of energy-saving opportunities in the United States. The nation’s housing stock currently stands at some 16 million renter-occupied apartments and condominiums with five units or more. Together, these buildings consume 15.6 percent of all energy in the nation (Frye 2013). Building owners and tenants spent about $22 billion on energy in 2009, an average of $1,141 per household (McKibbin 2013).
A recent study from CNT Energy and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) found that cost-effective building upgrades could achieve savings of 15 percent to 30 percent in those multifamily units (McKibben et al. 2012). If the best current multifamily energy-efficiency programs were expanded nationwide, they could cut energy bills by almost $3.4 billion annually.
Meanwhile, state regulators require utilities to wring ever-greater efficiencies out of the built environment. But utilities have encountered – and in some cases, created – roadblocks to achieving greater energy savings in this sector. As a result, the multifamily market teeming with potential remains an underserved segment across the country.