An Urban Institute study found that tenants in multifamily housing spent about $1,235 each year on energy bills and utilities. However, after retrofitting their units with more energy-efficient products, tenants saved as much as 22% in energy use.
Controlling energy bills feels like an impossible task. However, organizations are constantly coming up with energy-efficient best practices. These strategies aim to lower utility bills in multifamily homes.
So what are these best practices? How do you provide energy efficiency services to multifamily tenants?
In this article, we’ll be covering what some of these energy services look like. We’ll also look at the best ways to provide these services to multifamily tenants.
Benefits of Energy Services
Energy-efficient services allow residents to save on their utility bills each month. This leads to more savings down the line. It can also lead to more environmentally conscious buildings by decreasing overall energy use.
For property managers, more efficient energy use means lower operating expenses. If your residents are paying less on their monthly bills, it’ll increase satisfaction and lead to renewed leases.
Furthermore, lower utility bills through energy services leads to lower tenant turnover by keeping costs manageable for all. This decreased resident turnover provides for a more stable building operation, as property owners and managers don’t have to constantly look for new residents.
Best Practices for Providing Energy Services to Multifamily Tenants
It’s in the best interests of both tenants and their property managers to keep energy bills as low as possible. The following are potential strategies that both parties can use to decrease their utility costs each month.
While not exhaustive, we think these strategies can get both tenants and managers started on the path to better savings:
Incandescent bulbs and CFL fixtures are a thing of the past. They use too much energy to light up a room when newer LED bulbs can do the same work at a fraction of the cost.
Using LEDs can help save tenants hundreds of dollars per year on their electricity bills. Property managers can get the ball rolling by applying their eligible properties to the LEAN Multifamily Program to install these lighting fixtures in every unit.
Lower Water Heater
Some domestic hot water systems are set to a scalding temperature as a default. Lowering your hot water systems’ temperatures by even a dozen degrees can save tenants a significant amount on their energy bills.
For every 10 degrees lowered, tenants enjoy about 3 to 5% decreases in water heating costs.
Insulation and Air Sealing
Insulating the envelope (attic, walls, roof, and basement) of a building is incredibly effective in saving on energy bills. Since warm air rises and escapes through drafty buildings, insulation prevents that heat from escaping outside through the roof and out of the walls. This means tenants won’t have to crank their heaters during the winter.
Properly sealing each unit to make sure air isn’t leaking out of windows and other small cracks are both effective energy-saving strategies. It’s especially valuable in the summer where you want to keep cool air inside as much as possible.
Insulate Heating System
While we’re on the subject of insulation, applying it to heating systems prevents significant heat loss. Uninsulated boiler pipes lose a lot of heat through distribution and recirculation systems.
Hot air furnace ductwork should also be insulated for maximum savings.
Invest in Aerators and Showerheads
Low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators help reduce tenants’ water usage by a significant amount. It might seem trivial, but less water demand means you save on both your heating and your water bills. These costs tend to add up throughout the year, so they’re valuable investments down the line.
Be Transparent About Energy Services
Property managers should be open about what they’re trying to accomplish. If you have energy efficiency goals, always share them with tenants. Resident behavior can have a significant impact on energy use in the building. By engaging with your residents on how they use energy, you can ensure that everyone is maximizing their energy efficiency benefits.
New multifamily tenants should be in the know about your energy efficiency goals. Give them all the information they need to help them succeed with you.
You can even go one step further with multifamily tenants and create a partnership program. Empower them to take an active role in improving your energy services.
A joint management-tenant council would create more consistency between both parties. It can even be used as a marketplace for ideas, as property managers can solicit tenants for ways to improve their energy efficiency.
Leverage Energy Services for Multifamily Homes Today
Leveraging energy services in multifamily units is never a simple task for anyone, but there are plenty of strategies to pull it off. Use this article to find the right multifamily energy efficiency strategy for your home or property and start saving on utility bills.
If you’re interested in embarking on an energy-efficiency initiative for your own multifamily unit, apply for the LEAN Multifamily Program today!