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
If you’re new to ENERGY STAR, head over to our sections on energy management, benchmarking, and recognition.
Get Help Saving Energy
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.
Resources for Benchmarking Multifamily Properties
- Data access map: Check if your utility can provide whole-property energy data
- Portfolio Manager
- Checklist of data you’ll need in order to benchmark
- 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.
- How to benchmark if you have multiple buildings, such as a garden-style community
- FAQs about benchmarking multifamily properties
- ENERGY STAR help desk
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.
- Saving energy in commercial buildings
- Find an expert
- Energy Treasure Hunt: Treasure map for multifamily properties
Resources for New Construction
If you’re building a new multifamily high-rise, EPA has resources to help you ensure that it is designed and built to earn the ENERGY STAR.
- Financing efficiency upgrades in multifamily housing properties from the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC)
- Case studies and real-world examples from the Better Buildings Solution Center
Get Recognition for Your Achievements
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.
Get Help Saving Water
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
- Portfolio Manager
- EPA 1 – 100 Water Score for multifamily housing
- Checklist of data needed to receive an EPA Water score
- Supplemental guide to tracking irrigated area and water use in Portfolio Manager
Water Saving 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.
- WaterSense homepage
- Best practices for water management
- Water assessment tools
- Multifamily Housing Water Assessment Worksheets (WORD, 1.2 MB)
- WaterSense labeled products
Get Help Reducing Waste
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
- Waste Tracking and Management in Commercial Buildings
- Portfolio Manager
- Calculate GHG emissions associated with waste reduction
Get Help Engaging Your Residents
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.
Resources for Your Leasing Office
- Co-brandable leasing brochure (PDF, 446 KB)
- Co-brandable leasing brochure for ENERGY STAR certified properties (PDF, 508 KB)
Resources for Engaging Residents
- Printable energy- and water-saving activity kits for apartment buildings
- Guide: Hosting an energy- or water-saving competition
Other Helpful Resources
New! EPA 1 – 100 water score for multifamily properties
If you have a multifamily property with 20 or more units, your property may be eligible to receive a 1-100 water score that compares your water performance to similar properties nationwide.