The popularity of energy-efficiency among multifamily owners and operators continues to grow with 20,000 multifamily properties now part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) EnergyStar Portfolio Manager benchmarking program. In fact, in November, EPA announced the first group of nearly 20 multifamily buildings that have received EnergyStar certifications.
During a session at the 2014 NMHC OpTech Conference & Exposition, Michael Zatz, chief of EnergyStar’s Market Sectors Group, said, “Ninety percent of Americans recognize, and have positive feelings about the program.”
The popularity of the program is only expected to increase. However, energy efficiency is, of course, not just about energy-efficient light bulbs. It’s critical that all the residents are part of the process said Zatz, and the EnergyStar program can provide multifamily owners and operators with the right tools and the resources to maximize savings.
He said that they found that benchmarking itself saves an average 7 percent in energy use and that, of those properties that use Portfolio Manager, EnergyStar scores went up six points. Based on a one to 100 scale, the higher the score, the better the performer, so a score from 75 to 100 says that the building performs above the top 25 percent.
Another EPA energy savings program is WaterSense, which focuses on growing water costs and the need for conservancy nationwide. “We are now at the point where really over 40 states are expecting non-drought related water shortages over the next 10 years,” said Jonah Schein of the WaterSense program. “And drought and climate change will only increase uncertainty and problems.”
WaterSense labeled homes have saved 757 billion gallons of water between 2006 and 2013 and reached an energy savings of $14.2 billion. Schein says they are planning a water benchmarking for multifamily in the future. In addition, EnergyStar and WaterSense are currently researching a joint general methodology.
For more information, please see all details on EnergyStar’s multifamily program. It is also important to note that EnergyStar ratings are available for architects and developers of new multifamily properties at www.energystar.gov/mfhr.
Details on the WaterSense program can be found at www.epa.gov/watersense.