Colorado is one of a handful of states with a private non-profit like Energy Outreach Colorado (EOC) that pulls together financing from disparate sources to fund energy efficiency improvements at low-income, multi-family properties. Vermont, Oregon and New York are others.
In Denver, EOC worked with the sustainability manager for a 53-unit, low-income complex – Grace Apartments – to replace two aging boilers and to retrofit lighting. EOC also helped the multi-family residence obtain financing for the upgrades.
EOC conducted a low-level energy audit of Grace Apartments and then got a bid of $185,000 for the upgrades, including replacing two boilers and conducing a lighting retrofit, which included LED exterior lighting, replacement of incandescent lamps with CFL’s in units, and replacement of linear fluorescent lighting (T8s to T12s) throughout the building, according to Jennifer Gremmert, deputy director of Energy Outreach Colorado. The retrofit also included converting showerheads to conserve water.
Xcel Energy’s rebate came in at $112,412, EOC pulled in $50,000 from a municipal partnership, and Grace Housing invested about $22,000 for the energy efficiency upgrades. The project was completed in February 2014 and is expected to save the apartments about $13,000 in annual gas and electric costs.
Utilities in most other states don’t offer efficiency programs for affordable multi-family housing, but a new partnership of The National Housing Trust, Natural Resources Defense Council, Energy Foundation, Elevate Energy and New Ecology is working to ensure that utility energy efficiency rebate programs are available in nine more states to the affordable housing sector, which on average has older and less energy efficient units. The 9 additional states are: California, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.