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ACEEE launches energy efficiency program for multifamily buildings, estimates more than $3 billion in untapped savings within sector


From the December 4, 2012 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published December 4, 2012

By Fallon Forbush
Communications Assistant
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), with the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, is undertaking a multi-year project to encourage utilities and stakeholders to pursue energy efficiency programs specifically for the multifamily housing sector. The Multifamily Energy Savings Project will combine research, peer-to-peer exchanges and technical assistance to provide utilities and their partners with resources to establish new programs or expand existing ones.
 
The "untapped potential" in the multifamily housing sector is outlined in a recent ACEEE and CNT Energy report, "Engaging as Partners in Energy Efficiency: Multifamily Housing and Utilities," which suggests a 15 percent electricity and 30 percent natural gas efficiency improvement if stakeholders were to provide comprehensive retrofits and improvements to the sector—which could yield a potential annual utility bill cost savings of almost $3.4 billion nationwide.
"ACEEE is excited to launch this new project because multifamily buildings present a tremendous opportunity for improving energy efficiency," said ACEEE Research Analyst Kate Johnson. "The key to unlocking these energy savings is for energy utilities and building owners to work together more closely to develop effective programs."
 
There is no single strategy that will work for everyone, but Johnson said comprehensive, whole-building efforts will be required if stakeholders want to achieve the level of savings outlined in the joint report.  According to ACEEE, some of these strategies could include utility rebates for energy efficiency products and equipment, direct install programs for energy efficiency products and retrofit programs that involve energy assessments.
"The goal of our project is to engage electric and natural gas utilities as partners with the multifamily housing sector in order to expand the resources available to improve the efficiency of multifamily homes," Johnson said.
 
A working group of interested electric and gas utilities will collaborate and work toward:
  • an assessment of existing multifamily utility programs in metropolitan areas;
  • a primer on the multifamily housing sector written for utility program managers;
  • case studies; and 
  • a final report and updated metropolitan area program assessment. 
ACEEE expects to complete the project and release the final report and assessment in early 2015.
To learn more about the project, visit http://aceee.org/multifamily-project. Interested individuals can also sign up for updates and learn more about opportunities to participate by contacting Kate Johnson at 202/507-4039 or kjohnson@aceee.org.

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