Go Green: The Future of Multi-Family Housing

11/22/2019 - Blog

We already know that green, clean energy is the future of real estate, but how is the multi-family industry incorporating it, and what’s the incentive?

Green multi-family housing benefits all parties involved, including renters, property owners, and investors.

Going green with your multi-family property, whether it’s a high-end apartment complex or low-income housing, is a key factor for enticing renters and reducing costs of monthly rent and overall building maintenance.

Cut Costs Where It Counts

No one likes wasting money, especially the average renter paying monthly for housing. Seeing your electric bill hitting triple digits despite being frugal with lights and heating or cooling can be a huge motive behind looking into moving out of your current apartment complex. Renters like to know that the cost of utilities won’t use up their remaining monthly income after paying rent. Wasteful HVAC and electricity systems are not only infuriating due to high costs and inefficiency, they are also more detrimental to the environment than necessary. Additionally, outdated or cheap windows allow precious heat or cool air to escape in the more extreme winter and summer months. This makes HVAC systems work that much harder to catch up and can bump up that electricity or fueling bill even higher.

The best way to move towards converting an existing building into an energy efficient one and, in turn, cut costs, is installing LED lights, programmable thermostats, insulated windows, and solar panels. Studies show that heating and cooling account for about a third to half of residential energy costs in the US. Improving HVAC systems and employing reusable energy, such as solar panels, has been shown to decrease energy consumption in multi-family buildings. One study found that retrofitting multi-family buildings in New York City reduced fuel consumption by 19% and electricity consumption by 7%.[i]

Solar panels’ popularity is on the rise and they can provide huge cost savings. Some states, such as California, plan to mandate solar panel installation on all new residential construction projects beginning in 2020, a mandate that will include multi-family buildings. While installing solar panels can add to new construction costs, the savings surpass the installation costs over time, and they save residents money immediately.[ii]

Costs of lighting and appliances can be high as well, totaling almost 25% of yearly energy costs. Swapping those outdated light bulbs for LEDs and investing in energy efficient appliances throughout a multi-family property will decrease overall costs for both tenants and owners, and decreases the property’s carbon footprint.

Get Ahead of the Game

Lowering the costs of building maintenance and management increases overall profit for property owners. Additionally, it draws in qualified renters willing to spend a bit more to lessen energy bills and reduce their carbon footprint. As discussed in previous EBI blogs, going green comes with numerous financing opportunities, such as green bonds, that can have lower interest rates and may come with tax incentives.

Whether you want to retrofit your existing building or investigate options for a new construction, start with EBI’s Energy and Sustainability team. EBI provides commissioning, retro-commissioning, and energy audit services for real estate owners and investors so that our clients have the information they need to make the best business decisions.

Send us a message today to start the conversation about your multi-family projects.



[i] https://www.directenergy.com/learning-center/energy-efficiency/what-uses-most-electricity-in-my-home

[ii] https://www.motili.com/more-multi-family-properties-to-go-solar-in-2019/


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