Incorporating Resident Benefits in Efficiency Decisions

A framework and tool for understanding and assessing the benefits of energy and water upgrades to residents

A growing body of research documents the many benefits energy and water upgrades deliver for residents, property managers, property owners, utilities, and society at large.  Yet these benefits are often seen as incidental, unintended benefits of building upgrades.  Focusing in on benefits to residents, the Driving toward the Greater Good white paper documents the benefits that accrue from different types of building upgrades and puts forward a framework for incorporating those benefits into retrofit decision making.  The Resident Benefits Indicator tool builds on that framework, allowing stakeholders who are reviewing audit reports and deciding on scopes of work to evaluate different retrofit packages for their levels of resident benefits.  The white paper and accompanying Indicator tool allow affordable housing providers to bring the financial, health, comfort, education, and social resiliency benefits of building upgrades directly into the upgrade decision-making process and better address the needs and priorities on the families they serve. 

Affordable housing providers can also familiarize residents with the different building upgrades and their benefits prior to and/or after a retrofit event by sharing a set of resident benefits fact sheets, which builds on SAHF's white paper. Each fact sheet introduces residents to one of five categories of building upgrades, the types of measures to expect, and some key resident benefits that result from the energy efficiency upgrades.

The quality-of-life benefits of efficiency upgrades are more than just research and theories.  Residents whose homes have been upgraded experience these benefits directly. Our latest videos share the lived experiences of affordable housing residents who were part of the retrofit process at two SAHF-member properties. Their stories exemplify why deep energy upgrades mean so much to affordable housing residents and contribute to healthier, more sustainable communities.