Ecova’s multifamily retrofit program implemented across Puget Sound Energy’s 1,020 properties has resulted in more than 34 million kWh in energy savings from direct-install measures in the first five years of the program, according to an Ecova case study.
The partnership between the Bellevue, Wash.-based utility and the Ecova, which designs and implements energy-efficiency programs for utilities, has also saved 26.6 million kWH and 185,000 therms from shell and common-area measures.
The savings come from some 3,378 individual projects in the apartments and condos, including the installation of 754,119 CFLs, 41,470 showerheads and 25,737 lengths of pipe wrap, Ecova says.
The company works with PSE to engage property owners in conversations about the energy-efficiency benefits they can realize through energy audits and direct install measures. Ecova also trains auditors and installers who do the work, and tracks and reports the energy data for PSE.
While multifamily programs can provide substantial energy savings, few utilities have such programs in place, according to an Ecova Insider blog post.
Convincing property owners to participate and developing the program independent of commercial programs are two common hurdles that prevent utilities and running successful multifamily programs, Ecova says.
But they are obstacles worth overcoming: a recent study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and CNT Energy found retrofit programs improve the efficiency of multifamily buildings by 30 percent for natural gas and 15 percent for electricity.
Earlier this year Efficiency Maine announced a $3.4 million incentives program for smaller multifamily buildings with the goal of completing 1,800 retrofit projects by September 2013. It is available for multifamily residences with five to 20 units regardless of income level or fuel type.