Bob Adams, the Executive Director of Housing Virginia, noted, “This research definitively proves the value to residents of well-designed and administered standards for highly energy efficient construction. The impact on affordability for lower income families is substantial. Living in one of these apartments means a 10% increase in affordability for a household at 30% of area median income.”
The year-long study conducted by Housing Virginia and the Virginia Tech Center for Housing Research also finds that apartments designed, built and certified with the EarthCraft Multifamily green building program, which includes third party testing and inspection, outperform standard new housing by more than 40% with respect to energy consumption and provide benefits to residents including increased comfort and improved indoor air quality. Developers benefit from third party oversight to ensure field construction meets design specifications, resulting in a building with improved durability and increased occupancy rates.
“From a lenders’, investors’ or property owners’ perspective, investing in durable materials and energy efficiency is great business, whether the utilities are being paid by the resident or the property,” said Bob Newman, President and CEO of Virginia Community Development Corporation. “The reassurance of knowing that a third party is testing and certifying the effectiveness of the energy improvements is a great benefit to the builders, owners and financers that are taking advantage of these cutting edge technologies, materials and equipment.”
The reduced energy consumption reported in this study also translates to environmental savings; according to U.S. Department of Energy, buildings consume 41% of U.S. energy and 73% of U.S. electricity. This study documents an average monthly savings Housing Study Energy Graphicof 464 kWh per unit, which expanded to account for the 13,536 multifamily dwelling units certified to date, converts to 75 gigawatt hours saved annually. The environmental impact of these potential savings is equivalent to installing 14 wind turbines or providing energy needs for 4,742 homes (according to EPA Equivalencies Calculator).
“This study demonstrates the value of green building implementation through public-private partnerships to achieve monthly utility savings for residents, maximize equity investments, and support sustainable communities,” said K.C. Bleile, Executive Director at EarthCraft Virginia. “Given these results, we can all feel confident about implementing sustainable solutions and the future of housing.”