Salt Lake City, UT – August 27, 2008 – (RealEstateRama) — Affordable housing built to ENERGY STAR standards saves homeowners more money than previously thought, a new state study shows.
Actual utility costs per unit average $62 a month, according to a survey of 148 apartments and single-family homes financed by the Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund. That’s 12 percent cheaper than the $70 bill that independent energy auditors had estimated tenants would pay to heat, cool and light their apartments.
The study was done by the Utah Division of Housing & Community Development to measure the results of a 2006 policy, which requires that all Olene Walker housing earn the ENERGY STAR rating, the EPA’s standard for superior energy efficiency.
But the findings are applicable to any homeowner.
“We’ve always said energy-efficient housing saves money for homeowners, reducing each monthly utility bill by $25 to $40,” said Gordon D. Walker, Director of the Utah Division of Housing & Community Development.
The study also showed that not all ENERGY STAR housing is created equal. Of the three properties surveyed, The Stratford Apartments in Salt Lake City boasted the lowest monthly utility bills at $21.10. At the high end was $90.89 at The Springs in Logan, a development of 54 single-family, three-bedroom homes.
“Square-footage is a factor,” said Walker. But The Stratford Apartments also outperformed energy-efficiency estimates by the highest margin, probably because of the developer’s use of solar panels.
“We can now measure the costs of certain ENERGY STAR upgrades against the payback,” said Walker.
Over the past two years, the Olene Walker fund has added 1,599 ENERGY STAR units to the state’s affordable housing stock, saving low-income Utahns about half-a-million dollars on their energy bills.
In March, the fund was awarded the ENERGY STAR Award for Excellence in Energy-Efficient Affordable Housing.
The Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund provides gap funding in the form of grants and loans, to affordable housing developers statewide. The apartments and single-family homes built with Olene Walker money benefit people with disabilities, the homeless and low- to-middle-wage working Utahns, including teachers, police and those in the service industry. The program is managed by the Division of Housing and Community Development under the Utah Department of Community and Culture.
ENERGY STAR was introduced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 as a voluntary market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through increased energy efficiency. Today, ENERGY STAR offers businesses and consumers energy-efficient solutions to save energy, money and help protect the environment for future generations. For more information about ENERGY STAR, visit http://www.energystar.gov or call toll-free 1-888-STAR-YES