Residents and owners of affordable apartment buildings in Michigan could net more than $1.7 billion in energy savings over the next 20 years by investing in energy efficiency measures according to a new study released today by a coalition of housing and energy advocacy organizations including NRDC. The coalition also released a complementary guide with best practices that can take us one step closer to capturing them. Combined, the joint release of Potential for Energy Savings in Affordable Multifamily Housing and Program Design Guide: Energy Efficiency Programs in Multifamily Affordable Housing was designed to provide the evidence and guidance that utilities, regulators, and building owners need to improve the energy efficiency of multifamily affordable housing.
This potential study showcases the possible energy savings and benefits as a result of those savings for nine states across the country, including Michigan. The table below quantifies the enormous benefits for each state. Benefits accounted for include gas, electric, and water savings, reduced incidences of unpaid bills, reduced customer calls and collection activities, reduced safety-related emergency calls, higher comfort levels, increased housing property values, and health related benefits.
The program design guide then arms decision makers with best practices for creating and supporting the effective energy efficiency programs to capture the identified potential. The guide breaks down specific steps to address aspects that have traditionally made it difficult to meet the needs of multifamily affordable homes. Below is a taste of the recommendations in the form of a handy checklist.
The larger message the joint release highlights is that making affordable rental housing more energy efficient is a cost-effective way to reduce energy consumption, maintain housing affordability, reduce pollution, and create healthier and more comfortable living environments for low- to moderate-income families.
Both reports are the product of a national project called Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA). EEFA’s mission is to bring together the energy and housing sectors to tap the benefits of energy efficiency for millions of low-income Americans. EEFA works with a range of partners in 12 states to promote effective energy efficiency programs through local utility providers for all affordable building owners and healthy and inexpensive housing for residents. EEFA blends expertise in affordable housing, energy efficiency, building ownership, and utility engagement and works to support local groups by providing tools and resources that can help them increase energy efficiency opportunities for underserved tenants in their states. Partners include: Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM), Ecology Center, EcoWorks, Energy Foundation, Michigan Energy Options, Michigan Environmental Council, Elevate Energy, National Housing Trust, and Natural Resources Defense Council.
With energy policy at the forefront of the legislative debate in Michigan, these reports provide the case for energy efficiency remaining a cornerstone of an integrated utility approach. Energy efficiency has proven itself a benefit to Michigan’s economies, businesses and residents, including low-income populations. More, not less, efficiency should guide resource decisions in the year ahead.