The Virginia Housing Coalition (VHC), a NLIHC State Coalition Partner, announced the formation of the Virginia Multifamily Energy Efficiency Coalition (MFEEC) on December 1. VHC will merge with the Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness (VCEH), another NLIHC State Coalition Partner, in January to become the Virginia Housing Alliance (VHA), and the newly formed VHA will lead the MFEEC. The MFEEC strives to achieve dramatic energy savings in Virginia’s affordable multifamily housing stock in the next ten years.
The formation of MFEEC began in summer 2015 when VHC convened energy efficiency advocates, weatherization providers, affordable housing developers, and environmental organizations to discuss strategies for improving the energy efficiency of Virginia’s multifamily housing stock. These discussions led to an agreement to form an ongoing group that would specifically focus on the mission of “advancing policies and programs that provide comprehensive energy efficiency services to Virginia’s multifamily affordable housing stock.”
Affordable multifamily housing lags behind other sectors when it comes to energy efficiency. Energy inefficiency negatively impacts low and moderate income residents who struggle to afford their utilities. A recent analysis by the Elevate Energy through the Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA) campaign determined that, with sufficient investments, Virginia could cut electricity use in multifamily buildings by 28% and gas usage by 19% by the year 2030, while realizing $2.90 in benefits for every dollar invested. A joint study by Housing Virginia and the Virginia Tech Center for Housing Research recently found that the average household in an energy efficient affordable housing unit can save an average of $650 a year on utilities.
MFEEC has set a goal of “25 of 25 by 2025,” achieving an average energy savings of 25% or more in 25% of Virginia’s affordable multifamily housing stock by 2025. To reach the goal, MFEEC will work to improve Virginia’s current utility-driven energy efficiency programs, advocate for the inclusion of multifamily housing in federally funded energy efficiency efforts, and push for the development of financial tools that allow building owners to conduct cost-effective energy efficiency improvements. The MFEEC effort is supported by the Energy Foundation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, The National Housing Trust, and the EEFA campaign.
Zack Miller, who will serve as policy director at VHA, stated: “I'm thrilled that the Alliance is in a position to act as the bridge between the energy and housing sectors, bringing organizations that have never worked together before to the same table around a common goal. This Coalition is working on a wide range of activities in the state that will improve affordability for those who need it most and will help Virginia meet its energy goals.”
For more information contact Zack Miller, policy director at VHC, at email@example.com.