According to research from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, low-income households devote up to three times as much income to energy costs as do other, higher-income households. The energy burden is also typically higher for households of color.
For many of these families, living in less efficient buildings that lack energy savings measures is the norm. The resulting energy burden can result in trade offs in nutrition, health and other necessities for low-income households.
Reinvestment Fund is using its financing to support a model that is transforming energy conservation in multi-family affordable housing—a segment of the energy efficiency market where there is high need for efficiency services but where few energy financiers have originated opportunities. Reinvestment Fund is financing energy efficiency and water conservation measures for approximately buildings managed by Mercy Housing across multiple cities in California. Mercy is a registered 501©3 nonprofit with a 35-year history of developing, preserving, and managing housing and residences for individuals with special needs.
Reinvestment Fund is collaborating with Affordable Community Energy Services Company (ACE) and Bright Power Inc. ACE is a mission-oriented energy services project developer focused on implementing water conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements with a strong focus on affordable multi-family housing. Bright Power Inc., a seasoned technical energy efficiency manager with deep experience in the multi-family space, is the lead general contractor on this project.
The project will improve energy efficiency and water conservation for approximately 5,000 units that are occupied by low- and moderate-income residents. The combined measures are estimated to decrease Mercy’s energy consumption by 15.32% and water consumption by 13.74%.
The project won Mercy Housing the Return on Energy (ROE) Energy Retrofit Award from the National Apartment Association, which recognizes smart, innovative solutions that successfully reduce energy in a quantifiable way by showing estimated return on investment (ROI) at an individual property. The property that won is one of the 75 buildings and is located in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. The project is one of the nation’s first examples of applying the Energy Service Company (ESCO) model to multifamily affordable housing nonprofits, outside of the public housing authority sphere.