by Brett Kraus
During 2013, we expect significant developments to energy efficiency standards and requirements for multifamily housing. These changes will come from both governmental and private sources. The most prominent changes are expected from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American National StandardsInstitute (ANSI).
During 2012, the EPA has gathered substantial amounts of data about multifamily buildings to create an Energy Star Rating system. They have also been gathering building data, such as year built, what materials were used, square footage, building type (i.e. garden, high-rise, etc.), and more. The EPA has forecast that a rating system will be available sometime this year, most likely during spring or summer.
On a similar note, ANSI is a private company that sets standards on procedures, safety, efficiency and more. These standards are often used to set minimum standards throughout an industry. This year, ANSI has set a plan to develop new standards for multi-family housing. These standards will include water and energy efficiency rules and verification procedures, along with other unrelated items. These standards are projected to be completed by the end of 2013.
Another change is that the EPA is planning to release a new version of their Portfolio Manager later this year, which should make the site more dynamic. This should result in increased tools for users uploading large amounts of data, improving our ability to manage this data for our existing and future customers using this service.
As Energy Star Partners, and members of the Energy Star Commercial and Industrial Buildings, we are keeping close watch on the changes in the industry. Our benchmarking team continues to provide assistance with using Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager, especially where required by law.
These standards highlight the trend toward energy efficiency that we are seeing in the multifamily industry. As the year progresses, we will be watching to see how these changes are expected to impact each of our customers. Energy efficiency has been and continues to be a growing movement in commercial and governmental circles, and while in many respects, multifamily housing has been insulated from these changes, this year looks to change that and bring the same structure to multifamily housing that has been experienced by standard commercial buildings.