Incentives for Efficient Multifamily Construction Through Utility Allowance Calculations in Florida

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Energy Efficiency; Buildings


Florida recently implemented a new method for determining utility allowances for low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) properties that provide new incentives for energy efficient construction. These incentives have driven one multifamily developer to exceed minimum energy code by 40% in new developments since 2011 encompassing over 1,400 residential units in 15 properties. All new units are rated by RESNET-certified Home Energy Raters with a typical HERS index in the 50s and 60s.A unique scheme using results from the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) provides the raw data for projecting annual utility allowance figures. Details of this method are presented along with specifics of the systems-engineered package of measures driving the savings. Highlights include the successful use of heat pump water heaters, SEER 15 heat pumps, fluorescent lighting, Energy Star appliances and high performance envelope specifications.HERS results from over 1,400 units show an average value of 56, ranging from 48 to 68. Further improvement is evident in the 487 units built during 2013 with average HERS scores of 53, demonstrating the power of this incentive to push energy efficiency in a building sector that has traditionally been difficult to reach. Costs are borne by the developer and recouped through increased rents. While higher rents have the potential to decrease demand for these units, there has been no noticeable reduction in tenancy from typical levels of 95 to 100%.This paper published in the Proceedings of the 2014 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, http://www.aceee.org.

Date Published



Buildings - Energy Efficiency

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