By Ed Londergan | Tue, July 23, 13
With efficiency programs across the region maturing, states and program administrators are striving to touch more customers and tackle challenging sectors such as the multifamily housing market. As part of our ongoing initiative on multifamily housing, NEEP recently hosted a workshop on Challenges and Opportunities in the Multifamily Market in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions. The day-long gathering — held in conjunction with the Northeast Energy Efficiency Summit in Springfield, Mass. — informed efforts to increase comprehensive multifamily retrofits by providing actionable information that help drive deeper energy savings. The workshop featured three sessions: Public Policies that Value and Support Multifamily Retrofits, Finance, and Communications — giving the diverse stakeholders an overview of activities in the region and insights into policies and programs that are moving the multifamily market forward. The 80 attendees included representatives from Northeast and Mid-Atlantic local and state government housing, finance, and energy agencies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), energy efficiency program administrators, financing experts, non-profit clean energy advocates, academia, consultants and other stakeholders. Among the fantastic speakers and other experts in the room, we were pleased to have Leslie Cook, a Program Manager with the U.S. EPA; Dave Carey, Principal with Harcourt, Brown and Carey; and Andy Padian, Vice President of the Community Preservation Corporation. Here are a few high-level gleanings from the workshop: Building energy rating and disclosure are essential for real progress. Multifamily policy is inconsistent or non-existent throughout much of the region and to overcome that issue, the adoption of building energy rating and disclosure — at the local and state level — is imperative. Regulation, lack of awareness and the type of financial products are issues, not the lack of capital. While adequate funding is available, demand remains low due to significant regulation in the affordable housing market and lack of incentives for building owners to pursue energy efficiency measures. Targeted communication to owners and tenants is a must. Developing relationships, building trust, and tailoring the message for each specific audience are important. Messages about the value and opportunities of energy efficiency should be clear and simple, and delivered multiple times. It was terrific to see the exchange of ideas from the various actors and people from up and down the east coast. NEEP looks forward to building on these insights as part of a new white paper to be released next month, Increasing Energy Efficiency in Small Multifamily Properties in the Northeast: Data, Analysis, and Recommendations for Policy Action. This paper will review the current state of small multifamily housing within the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, and seeks to building momentum towards achieving deep energy savings in the multifamily housing sector.