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Green Multifamily Projects Cut Electricity Costs

Feb. 24, 2015

Efficient construction techniques improve housing affordability.

The first test to verify reduced electricity costs in multifamily apartment buildings certified by programs such as LEED shows that tenants can save an average of $54 a month and can outperform new housing constructed without the energy efficient features by over 40%. Conducted by Virginia Tech’s Center for Housing Research, the study is the first in the U.S.  to demonstrate the value of building multifamily structures to green standards, studying buildings that had been built to rigorous green standards and used third party testing and inspection from EarthCraft Virginia and LEED.

Additionally, the study found that green-certified projects were able to improve home affordability for lower income families and seniors, with individuals at 30% of the median income seeing their ability to afford housing increase by almost 10%. While the results are promising, the researchers are optimistic that even more benefits are possible, noting that some occupant behaviors indicate that more education about proper energy use could cut consumption even more.

“Our interaction with residents reveals that there are substantial savings that can still be achieved with more effective education and incentives. We have learned some lessons that will help us to refine design standards and make better decisions on what technologies to deploy,” says Andrew McCoy, director of the Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech.

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