When a building is retrofitted, it can operate much more efficiently. However, only part of the potential energy and water savings are achieved by the retrofit alone. Replacing an incandescent bulb with an LED fixture doesn’t do much to conserve energy if that new light is left on all of the time. And installing a low-flow faucet aerator won’t generate significant water savings if you leave the tap on while brushing your teeth.
This gap between potential and actual savings is what many resident education programs aim to close. Pairing efficiency improvements with behavioral change creates the conditions necessary for a building to achieve the greatest energy and water savings possible. The greater the savings, the greater the benefits for both building residents and owners. But in order to accomplish this pairing, residents must be engaged and educated about what habits they can pick up to cut out resource waste.
Fortunately, when building owners invest in them, these resident education efforts can pay for themselves. As households reduce their energy and water use, these savings are passed on to owners – who earn a higher Net Operating Income when utility savings result in lower operating & maintenance costs. In addition, educated and engaged residents are more likely to find value in their home, which can translate to lower resident turnover and associated costs.
For our most recent resident engagement effort, ICAST has teamed up with MoveInSuccess to produce an educational video set that aims to help households save energy & water. Did you know that keeping your refrigerator full of water bottles saves energy? Or that appliances still consume energy when turned off?
These are the sorts of lessons that the Utility Use Tutorials share in the hope that households work with, rather than against, the energy & water conservation measures installed in their homes.
This sort of education is crucial to the affordability of housing in communities across the US. While low-income households currently pay up to three times more on their utilities bill than higher-income households, the resulting “energy burden” depletes families’ funds for essential goods such as food and healthcare. When households on a limited budget get help reducing their utility bills, it can make a huge difference in their quality of life.
The Utility Use Tutorials aim to provide this social benefit, paired with environmental benefits of resource conservation and economic benefits to local communities. ICAST and MoveInSuccess both have a wealth of experience in helping multifamily housing owners educate their residents, and this most recent project is designed to scale and help households save energy & water nationwide.