The Impact of Energy Efficient Design and Construction on LIHTC Housing in Virginia

A housing study finds EarthCraft certification has a significant impact on energy efficiency in Virginia LIHTC housing

Viridiant partnered with Housing Virginia and the Virginia Tech Center for Housing Research on a first-of-its-kind study that demonstrates the impact of energy efficient incentives in the construction of affordable rental housing. The study, conducted over the course of year, analyzed actual utility usage data from 15 Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) properties across the state of Virginia to compare to savings projections developed through the EarthCraft program as administered by Viridiant. The study included a variety of communities – new construction, rehabilitated, adaptive reuse, senior and family – and analyzed actual utility consumption data and correlating behavior surveys.

Results

The study found that apartments certified to EarthCraft Multifamily’s high energy efficiency standards, with third-party testing and inspection, outperform new standard construction housing by more than 30% with respect to energy consumption.

On average, residents participating in the study saved 464 kWh a month, which translates to $54 based on current energy prices. This means that over the course of a year, residents save an average of $648 on their electricity bill. Between 2007 and today, Viridiant certified almost 17,000 LIHTC units in Virginia. If each of these households saves the average amount on energy bills, the total savings per year amount to almost $11 million.

What does this study mean for the building industry?

The results of this study are exciting for many – the tenants who save money every month, the builders and developers who now have assurance that energy efficiency programs with third party oversight results in significant savings, and the environmental advocates pushing clean power and efficiency for the future.  For Viridiant, the results are clear – $11 million and 94 GWh in potential savings over all EarthCraft Multifamily units in Virginia in one year – demonstrating the value of green building implementation through public-private partnerships to achieve utility savings for residents, maximize financial investments, and support sustainable communities and proves that.

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Next steps

Tenant interviews point to resident education as an opportunity to further reduce utility bills. A next stage of research in this area is to explore and identify the most effective ways to communicate best practices, energy saving habits and maintenance/care options. Questions? Contact us at admin@viridiant.org or (804) 225-9843.

Overview
Full report
Study Fact Sheet
Viridiant’s Full Release

Questions? Contact us at admin@viridiant.org or (804) 225-9843.