Increasing Energy Efficiency in Small Multifamily Properties in the Northeast

Residential multifamily properties represent not only a significant share of the housing stock in the region, but a significant opportunity to capture energy efficiency savings through cost-effective retrofit measures. The ability to attain these savings has never been more vital, as state policymakers throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States are setting ever stronger energy efficiency goals.

In the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region, the small multifamily housing sector – defined as housing in buildings with between five and 20 units – accounts for approximately 2.1 million occupied housing units out of a total of 26 million total housing units.

However, much of the potential energy efficiency in these units remains unrealized. The nature of the multifamily housing stock – and, in particular, the small multifamily sector – creates a unique set of challenges that have until now largely stymied the retrofit market. Yet some successful models for reaching the small multifamily sector have begun to emerge.

This paper is meant to inform energy efficiency stakeholders and policymakers about best practices gleaned from examining existing programs and policies addressing energy efficiency in the small multifamily housing market; to identify continuing gaps in the ability to penetrate that market to an even greater extent; and to present recommendations for programs and policies that may hold the promise of additional energy savings.

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