Multifamily buildings represent a huge market for energy efficiency improvements, and a recent report from ACEEE throws some weight behind the idea that we should be going after it. A few key points:
- The U.S. has 18 million apartments, condos and other dwellings that are in units of 5 buildings or more.
- These dwellings represent $22 billion a year in energy costs.
- 16 million of those units are occupied by renters.
- Despite the split incentive problem, best-practice utility programs could help realize $3.4 billion in annual energy savings.
While the report is clearly aimed at utilities and program directors looking to implement successful multi-family energy efficiency programs, we think that some of their takeaways can work for home performance contractors interested in getting into the multifamily game as well. Among them:
Segment the Market
Look at the different multifamily building types in your area. There may be huge variations between demographics, income, architecture, etc. -- figure out which ones are responding and focus on those.
Targeting Building Owners at the Right Time Can Help Overcome the Split Incentive
According to the report, multifamily building owners typically replace HVAC and other major equipment and appliances once every ten to twenty years. This is the best time to sell energy efficiency upgrades, and there are ways that you can try to target building owners who are at this point. (Targeted PPC campaigns, for example.)
Streamline Rebate Processes
Help your customers take advantage of any rebates and incentives that are available. You know the programs better than they do (probably), and making it easy for them is good business.
Electricity, Gas, Oil: Better Together
Offering a whole-house (or in this case, whole-multi-family-building) approach that tackles energy bills (and other building science problems) comprehensively simplifies the process for building owners and ratchets up your appeal.
Provide Follow-Up Data
Offering proof that your upgrades worked is a powerful way to confirm to building owners that they made the right choice in hiring you, and increases the chance they'll recommend you to others. Whether you get energy use data from the building owners in the first place, or if you install an energy monitor during your upgrade process, keeping track of the data and presenting it to the building owners some time after the upgrades have been implemented is a smart move.
These are just a few of the tips from the report. Green Tech Media has a good overview, too. And keep in mind that while there's much work to be done, it's encouraging that apartment energy use is on the decline.
Comments, questions, concerns, feel free to get a hold of us.