How much do occupants drive energy consumption in multifamily building types? Our research at 930 Poydras starts to provide insight into this important question for energy efficiency. The project was the first residential high rise built after Katrina, and contains 250 units on top of an 8-story parking garage and 1st floor retail space that meets the street. Each month, EDR manually reads and records all of the meters in each mechanical room throughout the building to collect fine-grained energy use data on the building for research purposes.
Overall, the building's energy use index (EUI) is 43 kBtu/sf-yr, which is 14% better than the median for the region at 50 kBtu/sf-yr. Typically, this is the only number looked at in terms of energy benchmarks. Given the tenant-by-tenant data collected by EDR, we were able to see the spread of energy use across the occupants, which all live in very similar sized units. The EUIs ranged from 32 to 67 kBtu/sf-yr (a variation of over a factor of 2!), and roughly followed a bell curve distribution between these two points. Given this wide variation, the data suggest that the occupants play a key role in managing energy use of a building, and that occupant engagement strategies should be included in multifamily projects. These types of post-occupancy engagement strategies includes producing tenant energy manuals to educate homeowners, designing controls systems with the occupant in mind, and providing a means to show tenants their energy consumption to close the feedback loop between awareness and action. With this level of data collection, future research could disaggregate the data further by orientation, type of unit, number of occupants, and could even be used to test energy awareness and retrofit campaigns.
- 43 kBtu/sf-yr Measured during occupancy
- 50 kBtu/sf-yr Measured EUI typical of this building type & size
- 14% Measured vs typical of this building type & size