HousingPolicy.org Forum

At the Partners in Innovation: Preserving Affordable Rental Housing through Energy Conservation forum hosted in Boston on April 14, the opening plenary panel introduced some thought provoking questions about how practitioners can influence policy around energy efficiency in affordable multifamily rental housing . One question that the moderator, Toby Halliday raised is one that I'm interested in learning more about because it is important in preservation, but also in new mutlifamily construction:

What kinds of energy efficiency performance standards are appropriate for multifamily housing and what kind of monitoring is appropriate to verify effectiveness and guide future investments?

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I think this really should be broken into a 2 part Q&A, bifurcated by self contained and owner provided utilities. Even though the owner should have the same energy efficiency goals as the tenant this is often far from the reality. Owners are less focused on efficiency when they believe it costs them more up front and they don't have to pay the bill. I would suggest using Southface's Earthcraft standars for multifamily as the industry standard. Additionally, in order to promote participation and incent continued compliance, I would like to see annual energy audits with rewards inclduing but not limited to, 25 bps reduction in annual interest rate on debt and a "carbon reduction" tax credit or other financial bonus.

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