Energy & Water ConservationDemonstration & Research

Applied Research to Develop and Promote Innovative Models for Energy and Water Conservation

Building on our experience collecting and analyzing energy and water consumption data, SAHF has launched a number of innovative demonstration projects. The focus of these demonstrations has been to test feasibility and develop tools, partnerships, and models that expand the availability of capital, capacity, and competence to affordable multifamily rental housing in support of conservation efforts.

Laundry Efficiency Study

Much of the multifamily housing market is served by common area laundry facilities – a unique nexus of four utilities: electric, gas, water, and wastewater. This nexus makes laundry facilities a particularly interesting intervention point for energy and water efficiency. While increasingly efficient clothes washers have become available over the years, multifamily affordable buildings present an untapped conservation opportunity as they often lease commercial clothes washers. As part of the Energy Efficiency for All initiative, Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future and the Natural Resources Defense Council assessed efficiency opportunities in twelve states. The Efficiency Opportunities in Multifamily Common Area Laundry Facilities study provides insight into the current laundry landscape in multifamily housing which reveals a significant opportunity for multifamily housing owners to realize substantial savings from reduced electricity, gas, and water use. The report also looks at existing utility incentive programs that address laundry appliances and elucidates the greater need for programs to spur efficiency in multifamily common area laundry facilities.

Download the Laundry Efficiency Study

Energy Performance Contracting Demonstration

Under a grant from the Department of Energy through the Weatherization Innovation Pilot Program, SAHF ran a demonstration program to test the feasibility of energy performance contracting as a method of retrofitting privately owned assisted housing. Under this program, SAHF worked with the Low Income Investment Fund to develop a loan product for multifamily affordable housing that underwrote energy and water savings as a source of repayment. We also worked with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to develop a set of policy flexibilities that addressed the split incentive in properties with HUD rental assistance. Johnson Controls served as the Energy Services Company in the demonstration, auditing and ultimately delivering retrofits that lower costs and improve comfort for residents of the participating properties.

Investor Consents White Paper

Based on lessons from the Energy Performance Contracting Demonstration, SAHF developed a white paper on considerations in requesting investor consents for stand alone retrofits.            

Dowload The Investor Consents White Paper.

On-Bill Repayment Pilot

To test On-Bill Repayment as a mechanism for financing retrofits in multifamily affordable housing, SAHF partnered with the California Housing Partnership Corporation to design a five-property pilot. Pilot partners gathered gathered lessons from this pilot to help inform the design and implementation of the On-Bill Repayment Pilot. The Public Utilities Commission recommended these lessons to all Investor Owned Utilities as a road map and guidelines for pilot application.

Multifamily Retrofit Report

With the support of the MacArthur Foundation and Bright Power, SAHF developed the Multifamily Retrofit Report on the results of two retrofit programs – the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Green Retrofit Program and the Energy Savers program run by Elevate Energy in the greater Chicago area. Download The Multifamily Retrofit Report.

EZ Retrofit

For additional information on SAHF's program to develop and implement an excel-based audit tool, see the EZ Retrofit page.

Pay For Success

SAHF is working on an incentive, made available by HUD for properties subsidized with Project Rental Assistance Contracts (PRAC), to implement retrofits on a Pay for Success basis. The incentive allows project sponsors to invest in retrofits that reduce utility costs and receive payments from the money saved. This approach is an alternative of the Pay for Success Pilot, which was authorized in December 2015. For more information on the legislative approach, see the Energy & Water Policy page.