Energy use in multifamily housing has long been identified as a particularly challenging area for energy conservation efforts. Much work has been done on technical and programmatic issues in the past decade. There is now much experience in effective approaches for improving multifamily housing energy efficiency, based on the efforts of private, non-profit, utility, and governmental programs. A number of studies covered issues particular to this sector in the early 1980s, guidelines for multifamily housing audit and retrofit were developed, and aspects of the topic were presented in previous ACEEE Summer Studies and other forums. However, there has been no recent compilation of the accumulated experience and lessons learned from more than a decade of effort in the field.
This paper summarizes the findings of a project to review the state-of-the-art regarding sector characteristics, issues and barriers, technology, retrofit programs, financing, evaluation, and policy for implementing energy conservation in multifamily housing. The full project results will be published by ACEEE in early 1995 as a book on multifamily energy conservation. Here we preview key results from that project, with a focus on assessing the job yet to be done in improving multifamily buildings nationwide and providing recommendations for programs, policies and research needed to advance energy conservation in this critical and challenging sector.