Relay Network Targets Multifamily Housing Upgrades Nationwide
Elevate Energy, May 27, 2016. Image credit: Ajale
Affordable apartment buildings are home to more than 10 million American households, making them a backbone of U.S. housing stock. They also waste a lot of energy.
In fact, energy efficiency measures are far less likely to be found in multifamily buildings than any other type of housing, according to a 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
To create solutions to these challenges, Elevate Energy and New Ecology, Inc. created the Relay Network, a national network of 10 organizations dedicated to jumpstarting energy efficiency and green building improvements in affordable multifamily buildings. The group endeavors to share best practices, help fledging organizations get off the ground, and develop standards that can be used to measure the benefits of retrofits for tenants and building owners.
The network will help members tackle issues such as sharing new innovative technology, simplifying and leveraging government funding, and jointly pursuing contract proposals. Experienced players as well as start-up programs are involved, including three emerging programs Elevate Energy is supporting in New Orleans, Kansas City., Mo., and Michigan.
A significant portion of rent paid by low-income families goes to heating and other energy costs, especially in northern climates. Reducing those charges can help building owners keep their properties affordable as well as lower the property’s environmental impact. However, many landlords don’t have time to wade through the process of procuring an energy audit, prioritizing projects, and dealing with contractors for a payoff that may take years to realize, Haeg said. What they need is a one-stop shop to perform this work for them, which is what the network members aim to provide.