Over the last year, we have conducted a wide-ranging industry study looking at the efficacy of the current energy efficiency programs for New York City’s rental housing stock.

CHPC’sGreen Building Committee – comprisingindustryleaders inarchitecture, development, planning, finance, and engineering – agreed that there are many good programs andtalented practitioners with substantial technical expertise working tomake greener and more sustainable housing stock a reality. But they shared a concern thatowners of small to mid-size buildings (5-49 units) were failing to take advantage of many of the well-intended energy efficiency programs, limiting the number of energy retrofits being undertaken. As one committee member put it, The programs are there, but almost every program offered is not operating at capacity.

We conducted extensive interviews and site visitswith many practitioners, consulted with officials at Con Edison, the New York State Energy Research andDevelopment Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York City EnergyEfficiency Corporation (NYCEEC),reviewed the citys legislative initiatives and looked at the details of programs seen in other cities.

Using all of this expert information, we compiledTen Industry Recommendations that would remove many of the barriers preventing owners from taking advantage of available resources and knowledge:

  1. Consolidate and clarify information to make it easier for owners to access available programs by providing a one-stop shop for services.
  2. Design programs that make it easy for owners to install energy improvements concurrent with other work that is part of their standard operations.
  3. Help owners and managers to integrate good green practices into their existing management practices by providing training for maintenance staff and providing them with easy-to-use templates as they carry out their routine work.
  4. Create programs that encourage owners to focus on the energy performance of their entire portfolios rather than concentrate all efforts on individual building performance.
  5. Identify and actively promote carrot-and-stick approaches to energy efficiency that are well-proven, cost-effective, and easy to implement.
  6. Conduct a demand-side survey of building owners to create energy efficiency programs that better respond to owners needs, interest, and capacity.
  7. Design programs that are tailored to the subsectors within the multi-family sector. A one-size-fits-all approach will not work for a market that includes a diversity of owners and building types, and which splits incentives between owners and renters.
  8. Avoid jargon in marketing the message.
  9. Coordinate financing and incentive programs to eliminate overlapping and confusing financing and compliance requirements.
  10. Use consistent metrics to describe performance results.

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By Ilene Popkin

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