States Work To Improve Energy Efficiency Of Multifamily Buildings

WASHINGTON—Improving the energy efficiency of multifamily buildings can help states reduce consumers’ energy costs, strengthen electricity system reliability and lower emissions, according to a report released today by the National Governors Association (NGA).

Historically, states have focused their efforts to increase energy efficiency in residential housing on single-family homes. The emergence of new technologies and program approaches now offers increased opportunities to focus on multifamily buildings, or residential buildings with five or more units. Studies indicate that one-third of the U.S. population lives in multifamily buildings, most of which were built before the adoption of statewide building codes that set standards for energy efficiency in residential buildings. Cost-effective investments in energy efficiency in the multifamily housing sector could reduce consumers’ annual utility bills by almost $3.4 billion, an estimate based on 2010 energy prices.

Governors are increasingly examining new collaborations among state agencies, legislatures, utilities and business owners to improve energy efficiency. Governors’ Roadmap for Improving the Energy Efficiency of Multifamily Buildings looks at options governors can take to promote energy efficient structures.

“Reducing energy costs is a top priority many governors share,” said Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker. “By including multifamily homes in state energy-efficiency strategies, we can lower consumers’ electricity bills and strengthen overall system reliability, which is a win-win.”

Governors can consider the following actions to make multifamily housing more energy-efficient:

  • Convene stakeholders to help encourage innovative solutions in the multifamily sector;
  • Issue executive orders that create multifamily energy-efficiency programs;
  • Incorporate multifamily buildings into state goals for efficiency;
  • Create one-stop shops for educational resources on investment in energy efficiency in the multifamily sector;
  • Improve access to funding for investments in energy efficiency in multifamily housing and affordable housing; and
  • Align workforce training programs targeted to provide workers with the skills to improve energy efficiency with state energy policies and business attraction goals.