Reducing Energy Costs in Multifamily Properties

Energy costs in multifamily properties have risen by 20 percent over the past decade. These rising costs are squeezing operating income for building owners and managers, and they’re making apartments and condos less affordable for residents. You can reduce your operating costs, increase your properties' asset value, and meet the demands of tenants for environmentally responsible housing options. How? By making your multifamily housing properties more energy efficient.
Click the equipment categories to get money savings tips and ways to improve energy efficiency.

Space Heating

Heating systems are critical to most properties, but also can represent a large component of your utility expenses. A wide variety of techniques and fuels are available for heating. Many heating systems have supporting equipment such as thermostats, pipes and ducts, which provide opportunities for saving energy.

HSB's energy calculators can help you save up to 20 percent per year in energy costs. Use the calculators to identify ways you can lower your heating energy consumption and save money, while improving the operation and maintenance of this equipment.

Boiler Calculators Insulation Calculators 
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Energy Savings Tips

Monitor the boiler water quality. Boiler waterside scale acts as an insulator thereby preventing heat transfer from the fire to waterside. As little as 1/32 inch of scale increases fuel consumption by as much as 7 percent.

Lighting

Lighting systems are critical and can account for up to 50 percent of your electricity consumption. In addition, all lighting systems produce heat. Heat from lighting is one of the primary sources of heat gain inside a building and presents a considerable added load to the air conditioning system. An energy efficient lighting system can save up to 50 percent of lighting energy, plus up to 20 percent of cooling energy, compared to inefficient lighting methods.

HSB's Lighting Calculator provides a simple way to estimate how much money can be saved by replacing older inefficient lighting fixtures with newer technology.

Lighting Calculators 
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Energy Saving Tips

Replace fluorescent T-12 fixture/lamps (1.5” diameter) with T-8 fluorescent fixtures/lamps (1” diameter). T-8 lamps typically use 40 percent fewer watts and produce 40 percent less heat. This is important in warmer months when air conditioning is needed.

Water Heating

Water heating can be a large energy expense for multifamily properties, accounting for about 20 percent of energy consumed. By taking just a few low-cost, energy-saving steps, you can reduce your water heating bills.

Lowering your hot water heating systems' energy consumption can mean big dollar savings while reducing your potential for equipment failure resulting in interruption of your operations and inconvenience for tenants.

Boiler Calculators Insulation Calculators 

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Energy Saving Tips

Install aerating, low flow faucets and showerheads.

Space Cooling and Ventilation

Space cooling and ventilation systems are designed to provide both comfort and ventilation for the building residents. Proper insulation can help cut energy use. Today's air conditioners use 30 to 50 percent less energy than units made in the mid-1970s. If your ventilation system is not getting proper attention, energy dollars may end up on the wrong side of the fans. A 10 percent reduction in fan speed can result in a 30 percent reduction in power costs.

Use the calculator links below to see how you can reduce operating costs.

Air Conditioning Calculators Insulation Calculator Fans - Variable Speed Drive Calculators 

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Energy Saving Tips

Repairing leaks and recharging the air conditioning coolant will help restore the system to its design rating. This can improve efficiency by as much as 15 percent. Likewise, periodically inspect ducts to verify that all insulation is intact and adequate. A tight and well insulated duct system can easily prevent 20 to 25 percent energy waste. 

Electrical

We rely on electricity to power residents lights, appliances and electronics. Many times electricity is also used to provide hot water, heat, and air conditioning to assure the comfort of residents. As we use more electricity in our buildings, electric bills rise. Efficient products and energy-saving strategies can help reduce electricity consumption and help save money and energy.

Without electric power, it’s tough to operate a building. A properly maintained electrical distribution system will reduce electrical energy usage as well as help protect sensitive electronic equipment from damage.

Vampire Load Calculator Electrical Motors Calculator 
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Energy Saving Tips

Heat loss resulting from loose or corroded electrical connections can also mean reduced operating efficiency. These conditions can also lead to arcing or a fire putting residents at risk. An infrared survey of the electrical system should be performed once every three years or after any major electrical redesign or new construction. 

Solar Photovoltaic

Technology and economic trends are rapidly making it possible for buildings to contemplate generating some or all of their electric power. Solar photovoltaics are at the forefront of this trend.

Your installer can help you figure out the optimum size for your system. It will depend on the rate at which your building uses electricity, your budget, the size and shape of your roof and the incentives offered by your state and utility. Begin the design process with a review of the electricity usage history. Understand your electric rate structure.

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Energy Saving Tips

Assure you do not void your roof warranty. Building owners must get permission in advance from the roofing manufacturer or the warranty may be voided. In retrofit projects, consider roof life before installing photovoltaics. Due to potentially high costs associated with temporarily disconnecting and moving photovoltaic panels to execute roof repairs, Building Teams should assess the remaining life of the existing roof covering as part of a photovoltaic project.