Utilities, regulators, building owners, and residents are all looking to save energy wherever they can. The challenge is particularly acute for the nearly 18 million units of affordable, multifamily housing. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, for households in the lowest 20% of income, energy bills average 6% of total expenditures, while for those in the highest 20% of income, energy bills average only 3% of total expenditures. Nearly half of the most affordable apartments were built more than 50 years ago and lack current standards for energy and water efficiency.
Building energy and water efficiency projects have many benefits, including investment into the local economy, creation of green jobs, and improved public health through emissions reductions. In an effort to encourage demand for energy and water efficiency within the affordable multifamily housing (AMFH) sector in the City of Atlanta, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability worked with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Energy Efficiency for All, the City Energy Project, and other stakeholders to conduct the Affordable Multifamily Housing Challenge pilot program. 2KB was engaged to support program efforts and develop a research and analysis strategy to inform stakeholders of the program results.
The 2KB support was centered around the three primary focus areas of the program:
In addition to the use of newsletters, social media, and similar mass-communication channels, the team focused on contacting owners and communities directly. The team leveraged relationships with the Urban Land Institute, the Atlanta Apartment Association, and the Georgia Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council to identify providers of affordable multifamily housing in Atlanta. Contact was made with multiple owners and operators of affordable multifamily housing communities to arrange engagement meetings.
These outreach sessions included multiple meetings with property owners and sessions with different layers within those organizations. 2KB was able to complete a thorough discovery process that focused heavily on obtaining perceived barriers to adopting energy and water efficiency strategies. The resulting analysis and reporting were shared with all stakeholders, including the U.S. Department of Energy to support its ongoing efforts to capture the projected $3 billion in cost-effective savings.
Southface, Central Atlanta Progress, Midtown Alliance, Livable Buckhead, and the City of Atlanta
September 2015 – August 2016