Tag Archives: multifamily housing energy efficiency

Renovating an Out-of-date Multi-family Property

If you’ve recently purchased an out-of-date property or are planning to renovate a complex you already own, it’s common to feel overwhelmed by multi-family construction project. It’s important to work with a contractor that has expertise in a variety of fields. Multi-family construction renovations involve a range of solutions including painting, electrical work, plumbing, general contracting, roofing and a variety of other types of work.  If you work with a contractor who can provide a variety of services, you’ll find that your renovation projects are more achievable.

When it comes to multi-family construction projects, it’s important to set priorities early. You can work with your contractor to make a long-term plan for improving your multi-family property. This way, you can plan your budget over the long-term to make your goals achievable. Many property owners begin by renovating the exterior of the property because it’s difficult to attract tenants if the property looks run-down. Exterior renovations can be completed in phases. Painting can dramatically improve the look of a building. In some cases, the exterior may have deteriorated too much for paint and new siding or repairs may be necessary.

balconiesYour multi-family construction project may involve a variety of other external renovations to improve its curbside appeal. One strategic multi-family construction approach is to focus on issues that people quickly notice. Replacing out-of-date fencing can considerably improve the appearance of the area. Your contractor can help evaluate the exterior of the property and recommend the multi-family construction projects that will make the most immediate difference. The contractor may recommend fixing shabby balconies, replacing gutters or replacing seriously damaged roofing.

Interior renovations are an important part of renovating out-of-date buildings. Old paint, shabby carpeting and old plumbing fixtures make the property much less attractive. A contractor experienced with unit upgrades can help you plan for the most important improvements. Often, contractors can recommend unit upgrade strategies that are both cost-effective and effective. Consider a contractor that offers unit make ready services. The contractor comes in and finishes the unit before showings or rentals so that it looks its best. This is especially helpful after a major multi-family construction project. The contractor will clean, remove dust, vacuum, polish and eliminate all signs of recent work so that the unit looks clean and brand new.

Energy Efficiency and Mutifamily Housing

Multifamily housing provides homes for over 40 million people around the country, and there is a huge potential for improvement in energy efficiency in the industry.    State and local governments are moving rapidly to adopt benchmarking and disclosure laws as a part of their efforts to make existing buildings more energy efficient and lower energy bills for local residents.  Six major cities (including Austin, Texas) and two states, have adopted disclosure and benchmarking laws for multifamily housing energy efficiency, totaling over 1.3 million housing units.  The goal is to introduce competency and competitiveness in the multifamily housing industry that previously, was not seen.  Most apartment buildings are 36 years old on average and were built prior to energy efficiency laws were in place.  CNT energy conducted a study in 2012 with the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), which shows that energy efficiency upgrades in multifamily housing could save building owners and residents up to $3.4 billion annually.  Where do most of the energy compliance problems exist?  What repairs need to be completed to ensure energy efficiency?

  • Air Ducts

The energy commission estimates that improper air duct installation is responsible for 20 to 40 percent of energy loss in residential buildings.  Animals, rodents, and age can also result in tears or rips in duct work.

  • Insulation

The standard width of insulation rolls is 16 inches.  When the space between the floor and beams is narrower, many subcontractors will simply stuff the insulation into the space without cutting it to fit insulationproperly.  When insulation is compressed, it reduces the R-Value, a measurement of its insulation capability.

  • Framing

The energy commission advocates energy efficient design and construction methods that reduce the amount of framing and studs, and increase the amount of insulation.  Generally speaking, the more framing that exists creates a greater chance of energy loss.  Air penetrating through leaks in walls and framing can cause particles from fiberglass insulation to become airborne, causing potential respiratory problems.  The potential for air leaks also increases and can be even greater in buildings with various ceiling heights.

  • Windows

Heat gain through windows is responsible for 50 percent of the cooling load in warmer climates.  Improperly installed windows are a major source of air and water intrusion from unconditioned spaces.  Besides energy loss, water seepage can cause mold and decay, resulting in extensive damage.

  •  Roofing

The heat from a roof makes an air conditioner work even harder to cool a space.  Leaks or gaps in tiles or shingles can create for leakage or water seepage that could result in structural damage and mold.

With energy costs on the rise by more than 20 percent, along with a greater focus on energy efficiency, multifamily housing can gain profitability by focusing on improvements and gain tenant loyalty.