Energy Savings Add Up with Retrofits, Study Finds

November 11, 2011

Energy efficient upgrades--like adding compact fluorescent light bulbs, energy efficient windows and boilers--can bring down utility costs, finds a new study by Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation and Living Cities.

Researchers examined about 19,000 affordable housing units in New York City that received energy efficiency retrofits. They found that the retrofits added up to 19 percent in savings on fuel bills and a 10 percent savings on electricity--or, in other words, a $240 on average fuel savings and $70 electrical savings per apartment each year. 

“This study proves that the assumption that you can’t rely on savings when doing a retrofit isn’t true,” Jeffrey I. Brodsky, president of Related Management, the landlord of some of the apartments used in the study, told The New York Times. “It may not be perfect or exact, but you will see savings.”

Savings were also found when looking at 343 apartments that started an electrical savings program, which included more efficient windows, lighting upgrades, and Energy Star refrigerators. The retrofits helped shave overall electricity usage in the apartment units by more than 25 percent and helped contribute to an $808 in annual savings for each apartment.

While lenders don’t consider future savings from retrofits when underwriting a loan, some in the industry have called for a change in that, and a new bill in the Senate is even urging lenders to start taking into account a home’s energy costs in standard mortgage underwriting. 

“The study informs what we hope will be a new set of lending practices that places real monetary value on energy efficiency improvements,” Sam Marks, the vice president of Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, told The New York Times.

Source: “Study Clarifies the Energy Savings in Retrofitted Buildings,” The New York Times (Nov. 8, 2011)

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