California Apartment Retrofit Study Seeks Participation from Building Managers

December 21, 2010

Buildings are responsible for a large fraction of total U.S. energy demand and buildings are replaced slowly. About one third of the U.S. population lives in multifamily buildings. The residents of multifamily buildings often have below-average incomes and they are sometimes exposed to high levels of potentially harmful indoor contaminants. The U.S. is embarking on a program of aggressive energy retrofits in homes, with a substantial focus on retrofits of subsidized multifamily housing. This program of retrofits provides an opportunity to simultaneously improve energy efficiency and occupant's health and comfort. This study is developing protocols for selecting optimal packages of retrofits intended to simultaneously reduce energy use and improve indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in low-income apartments. During the project 15 apartments (5 each in 3 buildings) in different California climates will be retrofitted and energy and IEQ parameters will be monitored before and after the retrofit implementation. The data collected from these apartments and from un-retrofitted control apartments will then be analyzed to assess the impacts of retrofits on apartment energy use and IEQ.