Become a Multifamily Star with Natural Gas
- ENERGY STAR certified buildings use 35 percent less energy than similar buildings.
- Nine certified multifamily buildings installed high-efficiency natural gas appliances.
- Efficiencies of gas furnaces, boilers and water heaters range from 93 to 96 percent.
On average, ENERGY STAR certified buildings use 35 percent less energy and cause 35 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than similar buildings, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). With this label, apartments and condo units in multifamily buildings are designed to be at least 15 percent more efficient than typical new construction.
Such high performance buildings are often more attractive to tenants, who are willing to pay higher rents in some cases. As the following certified multifamily buildings show, high-efficiency natural gas appliances played a major role.
50 and 55 South Essex Avenue (Orange, NJ) are two 36-unit buildings both certified in 2014. Heating is provided by ENERGY STAR certified, 96-percent Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) gas furnaces in each apartment and domestic hot water is provided by a 95-percent efficient central gas water heater.
ECO Modern Flats (Fayetteville, AR) is a 96-unit apartment complex originally constructed in 1968, but completely redeveloped between 2010 and 2012. The facility features all ENERGY STAR rated appliances, such as gas dryers and gas ovens. Low-flow showerheads and faucets help conserve hot water. A solar water heating system is connected to a gas-fired water heater for backup.
The Edge Lofts (Hoboken, NJ)—a mixed-use building with 35 apartments and first-floor retail—installed a 96 percent AFUE gas furnace in each unit. Kitchens are equipped with stainless steel appliances, including gas stoves. Energy modeling estimated 27 percent annual cost savings compared to ASHRAE 90.1-2007 Energy Standard for Buildings.
The Ashley at Riverhouse (Arlington, VA) became an ENERGY STAR certified building in 2014. The 16-story apartment building features energy-efficient windows installed throughout the facility. The heating system uses two hydronic 350 HP fire tube boilers.
The Gateway at 570 (Bridgeport, CT), the first ENERGY STAR certified multifamily building in Connecticut, installed 93 percent gas combi boilers in each unit, which provide both domestic hot water and space heating via hydro-coil units. This Bridgeport building has office space on the first floor and 30 one-bedroom apartments.
JBJ Soul Homes (Philadelphia, PA) is a mixed-use building with 55 apartments, several resident amenities and retail on the first floor. Each unit has an ENERGY STAR certified condensing gas furnace (96 AFUE) for heating. Energy modeling estimated 23 percent annual energy cost savings compared to ASHRAE 90.1-2007.
Mattapan Heights 5A (Mattapan, MA) is an affordable housing building with 60 apartments. Two high-efficiency (93 percent) central gas boilers provide hot water to vertical fan coil units in each apartment. Range hoods are ducted to central risers and bathroom exhaust fans are part of an energy recovery system that provides heating.
Steve O'Neil Apartments (Duluth, MN), is a 50-unit affordable housing development that earned certification in 2015. Apartments are heated with hot water produced by three 95 percent efficient, central gas boilers using baseboards. A 95-percent efficient central gas water heater provides hot water for bathrooms and kitchens. Energy modeling estimated 16 percent annual cost savings compared to ASHRAE 90.1-2007.
Thomas Place (Orland Park, IL) provides affordable housing for seniors with 80 apartments and amenity spaces. Each apartment has a 95 percent AFUE gas furnace for heating. Ventilation is provided by ENERGY STAR certified heat recovery ventilators and a central gas water heater (95 percent efficient) provides hot water.
High-performance building envelopes were achieved with a variety of insulation having values ranging from R-10 to R-54 (depending on installation location) and ENERGY STAR windows. Other ventilation strategies meeting ASHRAE 62.2 Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality include central exhaust ventilation serving bathrooms or in-unit exhaust fans, with well-sealed central or kitchen risers.
With natural gas appliances and proper ventilation, ENERGY STAR certified apartments provide wall-to-wall comfort year round with consistent temperatures and a constant supply of fresh air.
Image source: iStock, ENERGY STAR