With some 16 million renter-occupied apartments and condominiums across the U.S. consuming 15.6 percent of all energy in the nation, multifamily buildings are the proverbial “low hanging fruit” when it comes to capturing energy savings of 15 to 30 percent. While the opportunity is there, it can be a challenge to convince property owners to take advantage of the programs and rebates offered by utilities. Owners may be reticent to fund capital upgrades when they are not responsible for renters’ energy costs, or they—and their contractors—can get discouraged by the complicated process and refrain from participating. Even many utilities are challenged with categorizing the programs when tenant units are considered “residential” but common areas fall into a “commercial” category, which can affect incentives and trade ally participation.
Puget Sound Energy, headquartered in Bellevue, WA, serves 1.1 million electric and 760,000 natural gas customers over a 6,000 square mile region. There are approximately 240,000 multifamily dwellings. In 2006, Puget Sound Energy partnered with Ecova to design and launch a comprehensive Multifamily Retrofit Program. By involving regulators, trade allies and property owners, PSE was able to bundle all residential and commercial upgrade measures into a single program, giving property owners one point of contact, and build a knowledgeable and motivated contractor network that partners with each other to treat the entire building envelope as a whole. For more information visit Overcoming Hurdles to Multifamily Energy Efficiency or contact Janice Boman, Ecova Client Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Program years: 2006 – 2013
- 34% Multifamily Market Saturation
- 115,589 mWh
- 356,591 therms
- 4,463 projects completed
- 1,310 properties served
- 76,297 units with direct installed measures
- 900,000 CFLs installed
- 59,000 showerheads installed
- 1.1 million sq. ft. of windows replaced
- 10 million sq. ft. of installed attic, floor & wall insulation
- 56 boilers replaced
Photo Caption: Puget Sound Energy and Ecova staff conduct outreach to Apartment Property Managers at TRENDS, the largest trade show in Puget Sound targeting the rental market.