Energy Ratings for Rental Units

July/August 2000
A version of this article appears in the July/August 2000 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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July 01, 2000
        If a property’s energy use were made visible, would that be sufficient incentive to convince landlords to invest in energy-efficient capital improvements? That’s the question the Meadville Community Energy Project (MCEP), based at Allegheny College in northwestern Pennsylvania, set out to answer when it began field-testing an innovative program aimed at encouraging efficiency in rental housing.         The solutions that lead to energy savings in owner-occupied housing have not worked in many rental units. Although landlords may have the means to carry out energy-efficient capital improvements to their rental property, they typically have little incentive to pay for energy-saving measures, especially in areas like Meadville where tenants usually pay the utility bills. While tenants are generally motivated to reduce their utility bills, they frequently don’t have the means to install any energy-saving equipment, other than the occasional plasticcovered window or low-flow showerhead. MCEP decided that one way to entice landlords to invest in energy efficiency might be to make a property’s energy use more visible, through the use of a home energy rating. If a landlord could advertise a property’...

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