CHICAGO (March 27, 2013)—For utilities seeking to meet energy efficiency goals, the multifamily housing sector represents a sizeable opportunity to achieve energy savings through targeted energy efficiency programs. In the report, Engaging as Partners: Introducing Utilities to the Energy Efficiency Needs of Multifamily Buildings and Their Owners, CNT Energy and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) examine the factors that contribute to effective energy efficiency program design for multifamily buildings and recommend strategies that can help utilities design and implement energy efficiency programs to attract multifamily building owners and achieve significant energy savings.
“There is enormous opportunity to achieve energy savings in the multifamily sector, and utilities have an important role to play in delivering effective energy efficiency programs,” said Anne McKibbin, policy director for CNT Energy. “Utilities need to work with the multifamily sector to design programs that address the barriers that prevent multifamily building owners from investing in energy efficiency upgrades.”
The United States has more than 18 million occupied apartments and condominiums in buildings with five units or more, and 16 million of these units are occupied by renters. Collectively, these building owners and tenants spent nearly $22 billion on energy in 2009, an average of $1,141 per household. If the best current multifamily energy efficiency programs were expanded nationwide, they could save up to $3.4 billion per year. Improvements to current program models could result in even greater savings.
Key recommendations for utilities include designing programs that address the diverse needs of different segments of the multifamily housing markets, making rebates easy to understand and access, and coordinating programs offered by natural gas and electric utilities. In addition, the report stresses the importance of developing programs that overcome the split incentive that occurs in rental housing where building owners are responsible for the costs of efficiency upgrades while tenants pay their own utility bills and reap the benefits of those upgrades.
The strategies outlined in the report offer utilities a roadmap that can help them capitalize on the enormous opportunity for energy savings that exists in the multifamily housing sector. The report highlights key industry players who make natural partners, including building owners, financial institutions, and affordable housing intermediaries. It also lays out a practical approach to designing programs that will achieve deep energy savings and lasting benefits for all stakeholders, building owners in particular.
“Energy efficiency can make a huge difference in the bottom line for multifamily building owners,” said Kate Johnson, ACEEE senior policy analyst. “In addition to lower utility bills, owners have happier tenants because units are more comfortable. That means lower tenant turnover and higher occupancy rates, which also makes a big impact on cash flow for building owners.”
This report was made possible by support from the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. It is the follow-up to an earlier report that introduced building owners and housing advocates to the utility sector. Both reports are available online at http://www.cntenergy.org/innovation/. .
The full report is available online at http://www.cntenergy.org/media/CNT_ACEEE-Report-2013-Final.pdf. Those interested in learning more are invited to participate in a webinar on Thursday, April 25, at 10 a.m. CDT. Details and registration are available at http://www.cntenergy.org/events/.
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, visit aceee.org.
CNT Energy (www.cntenergy.org) combines rigorous research with effective solutions to help consumers and communities control energy costs and become more energy efficient. We design and implement programs and conduct research in the areas of dynamic electricity pricing, building energy efficiency, and regional energy planning to achieve significant savings and job creation for low-income communities.
Emily Robinson, CNT Energy
Patrick Kiker, ACEEE
The City of Chicago is holding a series of public meetings about the municipal electricity aggregation referendum on the ballot for Chicago voters on November 6th. The first of four public meetings will take place on Tuesday, October 23rd at Arturo Velasquez Institute, 2800 S. Western Ave. in Pilsen. Details for the meetings are below.
If you are currently a customer in ComEd’s Residential Real-Time Pricing program (which CNT Energy administers for ComEd), you will be able to stay on the program whether or not Chicago voters approve municipal aggregation. If municipal aggregation is approved, and you choose to stay with Real-Time Pricing, you may need to notify the new electricity supplier of your decision to remain on Residential Real-Time Pricing. More information about your electricity choices is available from the Illinois Commerce Commission at PlugInIllinois.org.
Municipal Aggregation Meeting #1
Date: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Time: 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Location: Arturo Velasquez Institute, 2800 S. Western Ave.
Municipal Aggregation Meeting #2
Date: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Time: 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Location: Kennedy-King College, 6301 S. Halsted St.
Municipal Aggregation Meeting #3
Date: Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Time: 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Location: Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson Ave.
Municipal Aggregation Meeting #4
Date: Thursday, November 1, 2012
Time: 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Location: Wilbur Wright College, 4300 N. Narragansett Ave.
City of Chicago Announces Residential Energy Efficiency Partnership with CNT Energy, ComEd, Peoples Gas, and Others
The City of Chicago has launched a new partnership with CNT Energy, utility companies, and city government programs to help will accelerate the number of retrofits being completed in single family homes and multifamily apartment buildings, which account for half of the city’s energy consumption.
“Retrofit Chicago will impact communities that need help the most, and nearly 8,000 homes and apartments will soon be able to realize hundreds of dollars in annual savings,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This would not be possible without a broad, important partnership of city government, utility companies and community organizations.”
The partnership includes ComEd, Peoples Gas, CNT Energy, Community Investment Corporation, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association, and the City of Chicago.
Many owners find energy efficiency improvements cost prohibitive and confusing and simply do not know where to start making improvements. The City’s initiative, the Chicago Retrofit Residential Partnership, aims to help owners easily and affordably retrofit their homes and buildings by accelerating the success of the Energy Savers program, with targeted outreach in 12 designated energy zones in the city of Chicago. The partnership will also enhance outreach efforts for Energy Impact Illinois, the regional energy efficiency initiative covering the seven-county Chicago region and Rockford, Illinois.
The 12 zones that are the focus of the partnership are: Auburn Gresham, Austin, Avalon Park, Beverly, Chatham, Edgewater, Lincoln Square, Logan Square, Mount Greenwood, Rogers Park, South Shore, and West Ridge. Community areas were selected based on having a high concentration of apartments or single family homes and a substantial opportunity to improve energy efficiency.
Single family and multifamily building owners can call one phone number (855-9-IMPACT) to learn about and apply for available programs and financing opportunities.
“Improving the energy efficiency of the region’s building stock makes sense on so many levels—it saves people money, creates jobs, improves the comfort level in homes, and protects the environment,” said Anne Evens, CEO of CNT Energy, which co-administers Energy Savers with Community Investment Corporation.
Since its inception in 2008, Energy Savers has:
- Retrofitted 269 buildings, or more than 9,000 apartment units
- Saved multifamily building owners $10,000 on average annually on utility bills.
- Created 362 jobs in the construction industry, which has been hard-hit by the recession
- Reduced the need for more than 2.1 million gas therms and 5.9 million kilowatt hours of electricity
Owners can learn more about money saving energy efficiency programs available to them and can request an energy assessment by calling 855-9-IMPACT.
CNT Energy is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide economic and environmental benefits to households, building owners, and communities through energy efficiency and conservation. CNT Energy is an affiliate of the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), a Chicago-based “think and do” tank for urban sustainability.
Economic Redevelopment Program offers incentives to support energy-efficiency improvements
Incentives for Efficiency
Investing in energy efficiency can improve a building’s value and make it easier for property owners to attract tenants. Improving energy efficiency also reduces operating costs and enhances comfort. However, the process can be challenging. Many building owners aren’t sure where to begin or are concerned about the expense of energy efficiency upgrades.
The Nicor Gas Economic Redevelopment Program helps overcome these barriers and makes investing in energy efficiency easy and affordable for owners of commercial, industrial and multifamily buildings. The program offers financial incentives and extensive technical consulting assistance. Building owners get help with every step of the process, from evaluating energy efficiency needs and identifying equipment options to applying for rebates and finding qualified contractors.
Energy Improvements Made Easy
Since the program started in June 2011, the Nicor Gas Economic Redevelopment Program has helped with energy efficiency projects in 29 buildings, including five apartment buildings owned by OakParkApartments.com and managed by Greenplan Management. According to Mike Nickels, chief sustainability officer for Greenplan Management, the Nicor Gas Economic Redevelopment Program staff provided valuable technical expertise that made the work go smoothly.
“The knowledgeable people we worked with provided me with the insight to complete projects efficiently, accurately and cost effectively,” Nickels said.
Greenplan Management worked with the Nicor Gas Economic Redevelopment Program to complete a variety of upgrades to the Oak Park properties located in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts. Improvements included insulating all steam and domestic hot water pipes, replacing steam traps, insulating roofs, air sealing the building envelope, replacing boilers and replacing HVAC units.
Investing in Communities
The Nicor Gas Economic Redevelopment Program focuses on serving areas that are in need of economic revitalization. Projects that qualify for this program include those that are located in, or promote economic development in, Enterprise Zones, TIF districts or other economically challenged areas. Other projects that may qualify are those that create jobs, offer social services, rehabilitate brownfields or vacant buildings or provide affordable housing, regardless of their location in the Nicor Gas service territory. Qualifying facilities should be at least 10,000 square feet. Each facility can qualify for up to $300,000 in incentives per year. Incentive amounts are determined by the extent of the energy efficiency improvements and projected energy savings.
Get Started with a Free Walk-Through Assessment
To apply for this program or to request more information, please contact the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Economic Redevelopment team at 773.328.7040 or ERP@cntenergy.org or visit NicorGasRebates.com/economic.
For information about additional offers and incentives available through the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program, visit NicorGasRebates.com.Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program offers are available on a first come, first served basis. This offer is subject to change or termination without notice at the discretion of the Economic Redevelopment Program. The Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program is a multi-year program funded by Nicor Gas ratepayers in compliance with state law through a small charge identified on bills as “Energy Program.”
Over the past several years, CNT Energy has been growing rapidly, and the expanding impact of our work is getting noticed. On March 22, the Energy Savers program was featured in Fortune Magazine. The article highlights the success of the program’s one-stop-shop approach to improving energy efficiency in multifamily buildings. It also notes the important partnership between CNT Energy and Community Investment Corporation, the lending agency that provides low-cost financing to help building owners invest in energy efficiency. Read the full article online at:
Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency incentives help redevelop and revitalize communities through building upgrades
Improving energy efficiency reduces operating costs and enhances comfort in existing buildings. Investing in energy efficiency should be an obvious choice when renovating a building, but many building owners face roadblocks that make the process challenging. They might need expert advice on which energy efficiency upgrades to implement, or they might have trouble financing the improvements. A new program through the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program (EEP) makes investing in energy efficiency easy and affordable for owners of commercial, industrial, and multi-family buildings.
The Nicor Gas EEP Economic Redevelopment Program focuses on serving communities that are in need of economic redevelopment, as well as businesses and organizations that create jobs, offer social services or provide affordable housing. The program offers financial incentives and extensive technical assistance, helping building owners with every step of the process from evaluating energy efficiency needs to applying for rebates and finding qualified contractors.
“The Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program is a helping hand to our customers and communities,” says Jim Jerozal, Nicor Gas Director, Energy Efficiency. “This new Economic Redevelopment Program allows us to target resources to make sure building renovations in challenged areas are as cost-effective as possible. By leveraging energy efficiency to lower lifetime operating costs, entities in TIF districts and Enterprise Zones can spend less on their buildings and more on other improvement initiatives.”
Projects that complete the recommended energy efficiency upgrades can qualify to receive up to $100,000 in rebates. The exact amount of incentive is based on the energy efficiency features implemented and energy saved. The more the upgrades improve energy efficiency, the larger the incentive. In addition to receiving incentives, projects that complete energy efficiency improvements will benefit for years to come, enjoying lower energy costs and greater occupant comfort.
In addition to financial incentives, the program offers extensive technical assistance (valued at up to $20,000) to help building owners through every step of the process. Qualifying projects receive a complete evaluation of the building and a report detailing recommended energy efficiency upgrades, estimated savings, and incentives available from the Nicor Gas EEP and other programs. The program also assists customers in applying for incentives, provides design review, and offers construction oversight to ensure quality results.
Projects that qualify for this program include those that are located in, or promote economic development in, Enterprise Zones, TIF districts, or other economically challenged areas. Other projects that could qualify are those that create jobs, offer social services, rehabilitate brown fields or vacant buildings, or provide affordable housing. Qualifying facilities should be at least 10,000 square feet.
To apply for this program or for more information, please contact the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Economic Redevelopment team at 773.328.7040 or ERP@cntenergy.org or visit NicorGasRebates.com/programs/economic.Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program offers are available on a first-come, first-served basis. This offer is subject to change or termination without notice at the discretion of the Economic Redevelopment Program. The Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program is a multi-year program funded by Nicor Gas ratepayers in compliance with state law through a small charge identified on bills as “Energy Program.”
We are very proud to announce that one of CNT Energy’s major partners, Community Investment Corporation, has been named a recipient of the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. CIC’s work to preserve affordable housing through lending serves as an essential component of our Energy Savers program.
Preserving affordable housing in Chicago takes creative solutions. CIC has earned this tremendous honor by its willingness to serve markets that other financial institutions have generally ignored. Low and moderate-income neighborhoods have particular needs to address community development and affordable housing. CIC not only provides attractive loan products to building owners in these communities but also holds intensive property management education.
The award is very well deserved, and it recognizes the great work CIC has accomplished. The grant also gives CIC a tremendous opportunity to build off its work, strengthen its capacity and expand its impact to more buildings and more communities.
Watch this video below to learn more about their award and read the MacArthur Foundation write up here.
Apartment Building Owners, Residents Could Save Up To $3.4 Billion Annually with Energy Efficiency Improvements
CHICAGO (January 26, 2012)—Energy efficiency upgrades in multifamily buildings could save building owners and residents up to $3.4 billion nationwide, according to a report released today by CNT Energy and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Engaging as Partners in Energy Efficiency: Multifamily Housing and Utilities demonstrates that energy use in multifamily buildings can be reduced substantially, and cost-effective upgrades can result in utility cost savings of 15 to 30 percent in buildings with five or more residential units. The key to unlocking the savings, the report finds, is for energy utilities and apartment building owners to work together more closely to develop effective energy efficiency policies.
“We have billions essentially sitting untapped in our apartment buildings. We can harness that by simply setting better policies for efficiency for apartment buildings,” said Anne McKibbin, CNT Energy policy director and coauthor of the report. “Partnering with utilities is a crucial part of the process. Building owners and other housing industry players need to work with their utilities, engaging them directly and in local and state regulatory proceedings,” she said.
Energy efficiency upgrades improve the bottom line for multifamily building owners, help maintain affordable housing, decrease financial risk for lending institutions, and improve occupant comfort. However, building owners often have difficulty finding technical assistance, financing, or qualified contractors to upgrade their buildings. “Maximizing energy efficiency is a win-win for apartment residents, building owners, energy utilities and our energy infrastructure,” said Doug Bibby, President of the National Multi Housing Council. “This report offers excellent ideas that we hope spur further cooperation between multifamily owners and utilities to create a more efficient partnership.”
Better coordination between apartment building owners and energy utilities could address that, according to the report’s analysis. The study finds that there is a vast, largely untapped opportunity to engage utilities in providing effective energy efficiency programs that target the multifamily sector. The study examines utilities’ involvement in energy efficiency efforts across the country and identifies strategies that the multifamily building community can use to work together for improved efficiency. “We are thrilled to explore partnerships with apartment owners as a way of better serving our customers and reaching our energy efficiency goals. This paper outlines some important next steps for collaboration,” said Duane Larson, Director, Energy Efficiency Strategy, Pacific Gas & Electric Company.
The report identifies regions where the multifamily sector could see particularly dramatic benefits from improvements in energy efficiency policy. These include Florida, Illinois, Texas, and the District of Columbia—regions that have a substantial number of multifamily buildings and energy policies that leave significant room for improvement.
“Utilities and local regulations vary dramatically from state to state and region to region, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution,” says Eric Mackres, ACEEE senior policy analyst. “The common thread is that partnering with the utility is crucial. This report outlines a variety of strategies that can help the multifamily housing sector to engage electric and natural gas utilities in order to expand the resources available for energy efficiency retrofits.”
This report was made possible by support from the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Living Cities.
The full report is available online at http://www.cntenergy.org/publications/. Those interested in learning more are invited to participate in a Webinar on February 13 at 1 p.m. CST. For details, go to http://www.cntenergy.org/calendar/ or call (773) 269-4037.
CNT Energy helps reduce energy costs in households, buildings, and communities. CNT Energy is a division of the Center for Neighborhood Technology. Since 1978, the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) has been a leader in promoting urban sustainability—the more effective use of existing resources and community assets to improve the health of natural systems and the wealth of people, today and in the future. CNT Energy combines rigorous research with effective solutions to help consumers and communities control energy costs and become more energy efficient. For more information, visit www.cntenergy.org.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, visit http://www.aceee.org.
For more information contact:
Stephanie Folk, CNT Energy
Phone: (773) 269-4085
Resources to make existing homes more energy efficient are scaling up quickly right now. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Neighborhood Program grants have created funding for home performance programs in more than 40 markets. Home Performance with Energy Star is now offered in more than 30 states. As housing stock evolves, it is important that the local real estate market does too.
In September, the Center for Neighborhood Technology in Chicago organized the Green MLS/Better Buildings Roundtable to get a better handle on opportunities and challenges. The event was held at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. The goal was to explore the current situation using seven Better Buildings markets as a sample.
The meeting brought together approximately 25 contributors from the seven markets, as well as their counterparts at several key trade organizations. The group was an unprecedented mix, and was roughly balanced between four key stakeholder groups: multiple listing service (MLS) operators; Realtors; appraisers; and home performance and energy efficiency professionals.
The seven markets included: Santa Clara County and Los Angeles County in California; Boulder, Colorado; Chicago Metro in Illinois; Westchester County, New York; Portland, Oregon; and Charlottesville, Virginia. National stakeholders included the Appraisal Institute, Building Performance Institute (BPI), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), EcoBroker International, Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), National Association of REALTORs (NAR) and the National Home Performance Council (NHPC).
Participants discussed how stakeholders can work together to build the market for energy efficient homes. Looking forward, there was support among participants for opportunities that would encourage the most future progress:
1. Create a clear path for valuing green and energy efficiency improvements.
2. Create a roadmap for the big pieces:
- Financing energy efficiency improvements (from education on products available to appraisal and loan closing)
- Valuation metric (established metric to link performance savings to value)
- Education and outreach
CNT Energy is currently documenting the viability and scope of related follow-up projects, as well as encouraging participating individuals and organizations who were inspired during the event to pursue their own ideas.
Click here for a summary of the roundtable discussion.
Click here for the complete report on the roundtable.
To stay current on developing progress, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
American home buyers and builders are often discouraged from purchasing and constructing energy efficient homes because current mortgage underwriting and appraisal standards fail to account for energy costs and savings that come from energy efficiency improvements. Today’s introduction of the SAVE Act by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and John Isakson (R-GA) will remove these roadblocks to more energy efficient homes and take a first step toward giving consumers an energy rating on homes, similar to “miles per gallon” ratings on cars or Energy Star labels on appliances.
The SAVE (Sensible Accounting to Value Energy) Act promises to improve the quality and security of mortgage lending by accounting for a homeowner’s energy costs with two legislative components. First, lenders will be required to include expected energy costs in debt-to-income qualifying ratios, which test a buyer’s ability to make mortgage payments. This will eliminate the now-hidden risk factor of home energy costs. Second, lenders must also include the value of expected energy savings when calculating the loan-to-value ratio of a mortgage, allowing homeowners to finance the cost of energy efficiency improvements as part of their mortgage.
The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), a Chicago-based think-and-do-tank, supports the introduction of the SAVE Act because of its value to home owners. The Act fits with CNT’s work to provide people with the information they need to make informed decisions that save them money and benefit the environment. CNT affiliate CNT Energy has a 2-year old program that helps multifamily building owners understand their energy use and make investments to increase energy efficiency and reduce costs by up to 30 percent. Under current mortgage regulations, building owners are unable to reap the full benefits of increased energy efficiency. The SAVE Act will change this by allowing building owners to capture the value of their investments in energy efficiency.
In addition to giving home owners the ability to capture the value of energy efficiency improvements when they sell their homes, the SAVE Act would also help create jobs and protect the environment. More home owners investing in energy efficiency will create more construction and manufacturing jobs to do the work. More home owners making energy efficiency improvements will also reduce the nation’s energy needs and the pollution created by it.
The SAVE Act is supported by a multitude of governmental, commercial, and non-profit agencies, including the U.S. Green Building Council, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Natural Resources Defense Council, Residential Energy Services Network, Institute for Market Transformation, CNT Energy, and Alliance to Save Energy.
For more information, visit http://www.imt.org/save-act.