Energy Upgrades Improve Your Bottom Line
Save money on operating costs, reduce energy use, and improve the quality of your properties with the Energy Upgrade California Multifamily Program. Get the technical assistance you need to make smart energy-efficient improvements—and find rebates, incentives and financing to help pay for them!
The Energy Upgrade Multifamily Program has offerings throughout the state and is currently available in the following areas:
Find other programs to support energy efficiency upgrades in these and other regions by entering your property in the easy-to-use Funding Finder. The Funding Finder will also give you a preliminary list of upgrade measures to consider.
How it Works
Now there’s a way to upgrade your property and save money by reducing your operating costs. Your units will be more appealing and your tenants will be happier and more comfortable in their homes.
- Develop an Energy Upgrade Plan: Work with an Energy Professional to create an action plan for your property. The Energy Professional will assess your building’s energy performance and identify cost-effective upgrades tailored to your schedule and budget.
- Find Rebates and Financing: The Energy Professional assists in locating rebates, incentives and financing options to help pay for the upgrades.
- Complete the Property Upgrades
- Collect Your Rebates
- Improve Your Bottom Line: Enjoy enhanced building performance and economic benefits!
The Energy Upgrade Multifamily Program has already helped property owners save money, reduce energy use, and make their units more marketable with energy-efficient upgrades.
Read some recent case studies to learn how they did it.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Energy Upgrade California Multifamily Program?
- What are the benefits of participating?
- What types of properties can participate?
- What types of energy upgrades are eligible?
- When’s the best time to make energy upgrades?
- What types of incentives and services are available?
- What about financing—can I get financing through the program?
- What are the steps I need to take?
- How long will this program last?
- I am a contractor, rater or energy consultant. What resources do you have available for me?
The Energy Upgrade California Multifamily Program offers technical assistance and incentives to encourage multifamily property owners to make energy upgrades to their properties. The Energy Upgrade Program is based on analyzing how the building as a whole uses energy, and completing integrated upgrades.
While specific program elements differ by region, the overall goal of the Energy Upgrade Multifamily Program is to provide owners with the technical resources to make informed decisions about energy efficiency improvements to their properties and to help owners locate all the available incentives and financing options to help pay for upgrades.
The Energy Upgrade Multifamily Program was piloted in five California counties (Sacramento, Alameda, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego) during 2011 - 2012, and is now available in larger pilots or as full programs throughout much of the state.
As a multifamily property owner, you know how expensive your energy costs can be. But, you may not know that:
- Utilities are the single largest controllable cost for multifamily properties.
- Making your property energy efficient can result in significant savings on your utility bills.
- Today’s energy-efficient systems and durable building materials reduce operating costs and require fewer maintenance calls.
- Energy upgrades go straight to your bottom line by reducing your operating costs.
And, there are other benefits in addition to cost savings.
- Energy-efficient are more competitive in today’s rental market. Tenants are environmentally savvy, financially motivated, and value a modernized, healthy and comfortable living experience. Upgrades can encourage tenants to stay longer and shorten vacancy periods, thereby stabilizing your cash flow.
- The energy upgrades that you make will protect your assets and ensure that they endure for years to come.
- Energy-efficient buildings also tend to have a higher market value when selling.
Your time is precious and your capital dollars are stretched thin. The Energy Upgrade Program will save you money and time—helping you figure out the most cost-effective energy upgrades and all the various programs, incentives and rebates available to you.
This program is available to owners of multi-unit residential properties. Your building must contain a minimum number of units to be eligible. (The number depends on each region's program, The minimum is typically 5 units.)
In all regions, both market-rate and affordable buildings are eligible to participate in the program.
For more information about each program's eligibility criteria, please go to the "Local Assistance" tab, click on the county where your property is located, and go to "Program Fact Sheet" for specific information.
A wide range of energy and other upgrades are eligible for the Energy Upgrade Multifamily Program. The Program’s technical experts will help you create a customized plan to take advantage of your building maintenance schedule, whether it’s a specific system replacement or a major rehabilitation project. Here are some examples of upgrades to consider (eligible measures vary by region):
Lighting & Appliances
Lighting. You can reduce a building’s energy load by installing high-efficacy lighting fixtures, using photocells or timers for exterior lights and occupancy sensors for lobbies, garages and laundry areas.
Appliances. Cooking and refrigeration account for a higher proportion of energy use in multifamily buildings than in single-family homes. Energy-efficient washers, dryers and dishwashers can save both water and energy.
Small Fixtures. Programmable thermostats and compact fluorescent lights (hardwired) can save electricity and gas.
Sealing and Insulating. While sealing and insulating make a huge difference in a single-family house, shared walls in multifamily units mean less heating and cooling is lost to the exterior. However, older buildings can still benefit from increased insulation in walls and attics, new energy-efficient windows and cool roofs.
Domestic Hot Water
Water Heating. Installing new, energy-efficient building and in-unit water heaters, improving the distribution system and adding a solar hot water pre-heat system could offer the single greatest energy and water savings in a building.
Water Fixtures. Faucet aerators, high-efficiency showerheads, and new low-low toilets use half as much water as those made less than a decade ago.
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
Building Systems. If your system pre-dates the State’s 1978 energy efficiency codes, replacing outdated boilers and furnaces, as well as sealing and insulating ducts, can make a big difference.
In-Unit Systems. New small, in-unit systems can make tenants more comfortable and save energy.
Onsite photovoltaic (PV) systems. Although expensive to install, onsite PV systems can reduce your electricity cost over time—they produce reliable power for 25 to 40 years. They’re considerably more efficient than centralized power generation because electricity is generated where it’s actually being used, reducing distribution losses compared with electricity that travels over the utility’s distribution network.
Some regional programs can help you add these green benefits to your upgrade.
- Low VOC Paints amd Finishes. Low (or no) VOC paint creates a healthier breathing environment for your residents; they will appreciate moving into a new unit that is not off-gassing unhealthy fumes.
- Earth-Friendly Landscaping. Planting California-native or Mediterranean type plants often requires less soil preparation, watering, mowing, fertilizing and spraying, which can reduce your operating costs.
- Low-Flow Irrigation Systems. Residential properties are regularly overwatered by as much as 30-40%, with much of this water being used in excess at the wrong time of the year.
- Installing low-flow, high-efficiency irrigation systems in your outdoor landscaped areas, along with smart controllers, enables you to minimize your use of water and reduce your water bills.
- Salvaged Building Materials. Many old building materials such as concrete, demolition debris, wood siding, windows and flooring can be salvaged and recycled—even on site.
- Waste Diversion. You can see a payback in less than one year by installing diverters in existing chutes to sort trash, recyclables and compost—reducing your trash volume.
There are five common trigger events in a building’s lifecycle that offer excellent opportunities for making energy-efficiency improvements. Below are some examples of the types of upgrades that can be made (eligible measures vary by region):
- Tune Up/Spruce Up. While you’re doing ongoing maintenance or preparing for sale, you can make low-cost improvements such as common area painting and greener landscaping and irrigation.
- Unit Turnover. A vacant apartment is a good time to paint, replace carpets, fix moisture intrusion, add programmable thermostats and energy-efficient lighting, replace old appliances and water fixtures, and make other minor repairs.
- Replacement. When it’s time to replace central systems, save energy and money by choosing more efficient models of furnaces, boilers, air conditioners, lighting, washers and water heaters—they will pay off in the future.
- Retrofit. When you want to go beyond weatherization or single measure energy remodeling projects, consider deeper energy retrofit projects that focus on developing comprehensive whole-building strategies that achieve greater energy-efficiency goals. Energy upgrades can include sealing or replacing ducts, increasing insulation and replacing building’s windows.
- Rehabilitation. A major rehabilitation project complete building overhaul can include all of the above, plus remodeling common areas, upgrading structural elements, installing new electrical, plumbing and mechanical equipment, and more.
Incentives are dependent upon a variety of factors: where your property is located, your utility service provider, the size of your property, the percentage (%) improvement in energy efficiency your upgrades accomplish over your property’s existing (or baseline) conditions, among other factors. Use the “Funding Finder” to get more specific information about what’s available in your area.
Services may include free consultation with an Energy Professional, who will guide you through a customized assessment of your building’s energy performance, provide advice on the most cost-effective upgrade opportunities, and find additional rebates and incentives.
Some programs also include an energy assessment, using specialized diagnostic tools and computer modeling.
One of the early steps in the Energy Upgrade Multifamily Program process is to work with an Energy Professional who will help you find the incentives, rebates and financing to help you pay for your building’s upgrades.
While the process varies depending on the region in which your property is located, it can be boiled down to some simple steps:
- Visit the "Local Assistance" tab on the websie or use the Funding Finder to identify applicable programs for your property
- Reserve your space in the applicable program
- Receive technical assistance and/or an energy assessment by working with an Energy Professional who will help you access incentives, assess your building and develop an upgrade plan to meet your needs and budget
- Install energy and other upgrades as identified through the technical assistance or energy assessment
- Receive incentives and enjoy energy savings, enhanced building performance and increased marketing power
The funding cycle varies by program. Check the "Local Assistance" page for specific dates and program extensions, expansions and modifications.
There are a number of ways you can educate your multifamily property owner client base about the Energy Upgrade Program. Please contact the program administrator in your region to learn about upcoming meetings and/or workshops that will provide additional information about the Energy Upgrade Multifamily Program. You can also download a variety of marketing and educational “tools” from the website to assist you in discussing, educating and ultimately selling the benefits of the Energy Upgrade Program to your clients. These resources include case studies and fact sheets.