Affordable Housing Owner Targets Energy Retrofits, Saves 15% in Utility Bills

by | Mar 6, 2013

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The Homeowners’ Rehab (HRI), a Massachusetts-based nonprofit owner and developer of multifamily affordable housing, identified the least efficient buildings in its portfolio of 68 properties, including its Auburn Court development (pictured).

HRI then worked with energy auditors to implement targeted heating, lighting and water retrofits. As a result, HRI is now saving about $218,000 a year in utility costs, representing a 15 percent reduction in its total annual utility costs across all its properties.

HRI first partnered with, WegoWise a building performance analytics provider, to identify buildings that would benefit most from heating, lighting and water retrofit projects. WegoWise’s software automatically retrieves HRI’s utility bill data and generates charts and graphs to help HRI understand utility usage and target retrofits that would yield the largest return on investment. HRI also uses WegoWise to track utility data post-retrofit to verify cost savings and ensure the retrofits are performing properly. By showcasing savings of completed retrofit projects, HRI is more easily able to secure financing for future projects.

After the retrofits, HRI spotlighted a particular property – its Auburn Court Development in Cambridge, Mass. – for a case study. By tracking energy consumption for Auburn Court in WegoWise and benchmarking it against similar properties in HRI’s portfolio, HRI discovered Auburn Court used 35 percent more energy that comparable developments. Energy auditors recommended replacing common area lighting with energy efficient fixtures and installing motion sensors. The lighting retrofit included:

  • Replacing 150 double-lamp fixtures in the stairwells with energy efficient, motion-controlled fixtures
  • Replacing 16 wall sconces in the hallways
  • Installing seven motion sensor fixtures in trash rooms, laundry rooms and other common areas
  • Installing 4 exterior LED fixtures to light a walkway
  • Upgrading the lighting fixture in the elevator

The project was completed in two phases throughout the course of a year at a cost of $57,800. The lighting retrofit has yielded an average savings of about 20 percent across the eight buildings in the development. Overall, HRI is saving 43,000 kWH hours of electricity and $6,800 per year in energy costs at Auburn Court.

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