Good Energy Management Is Good Business for Multifamily Properties
A comprehensive, strategic approach to energy management can improve the energy efficiency of U.S. multifamily properties by 15-30% and save $3.4 billion in utility costs, according to ACEEE. Multifamily properties also have enormous potential to save water and reduce waste. Whether you pay these utility costs directly or not, reducing energy, water, and waste across your multifamily properties can lower your operating costs, increase your properties’ asset value, and make your properties more marketable through lower costs of living and increased comfort for residents.
ENERGY STAR Resources for Existing Multifamily Properties
You can’t manage what you don’t measure, which is why benchmarking should be your first step. Our Portfolio Manager tool is used by hundreds of thousands of buildings to measure and track their energy use. Multifamily properties with 20 or more units can also receive a 1 – 100 ENERGY STAR score—a comparative metric that rates your property’s energy performance relative to similar properties nationwide. And these properties can also receive a 1-100 Water Score, which provides similar insights into the water performance of your property.
To calculate a 1-100 ENERGY STAR score, you’ll need to enter whole-building energy use data, which can be a challenge for multifamily properties since residents often pay some of their energy bills directly to the utility. First, check our interactive utility data access map (see link below) to see if your utility provides this data, as dozens of utilities now provide aggregated data for buildings with multiple tenants. If not, call your utility directly, as some will make this data available upon request. If it’s still not available, you can still get valuable insights from benchmarking using the data you do have. Use it to compare your property to others within your portfolio and track your performance over time, or benchmark common areas to start tracking usage and making reductions in these spaces.
Tip: If you have other types of commercial space on your multifamily property, like retail or restaurants, include those spaces in the gross floor area for your campus, but benchmark them according to their space type in Portfolio Manager.
Resources for Saving Energy in Multifamily Properties
Once you’ve benchmarked, you’ll know which properties to target for cost-saving energy-efficiency improvements. Bring in an expert to conduct a building audit to identify opportunities, or assemble your team and conduct a Treasure Hunt using the Treasure Map for Multifamily Properties checklist as a starting point.
Individual top-performing multifamily properties may be eligible to earn ENERGY STAR certification, which is recognized by more than 90% of American households. Studies have also shown that ENERGY STAR certified buildings have lower operating costs, contribute fewer greenhouse gas emissions to the environment, and show an increased asset value.
Organizations that implement comprehensive energy management programs across their properties and communicate the value of energy efficiency may qualify for a prestigious ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year award.
In addition to energy, our Portfolio Manager tool is used by tens of thousands of buildings to measure and track their water use. Multifamily properties with 20 or more units can also receive a 1 – 100 Water Score—a statistical evaluation of a property’s indoor and outdoor water use, normalized for weather and operation.
Water Benchmarking Resources for Multifamily Properties
Right down the hall from ENERGY STAR is EPA’s WaterSense® program, staffed with experts in water efficiency. Their resources can help you develop a water management plan for your property. There are also a wide variety of WaterSense labeled products to help you achieve your water savings goals.
You can also use Portfolio Manager to track the type and amount of material you send for donation, reuse, recycling, composting, and disposal. Simply tracking your waste will help you better manage your waste, reduce costs, and reduce your environmental impacts.
Waste Tracking Resources for Multifamily Properties
Engaging residents in your sustainability efforts will not only help you improve your property’s performance, but it may also lead to happier tenants who will be more likely to stay. Information about your efforts may also help you win over prospective residents who have similar values or are just looking to save some money on their energy bills.