Monday, September 29, 2014

Determining opportunities for efficiency with SAHF’s EZ Retrofit Tool

by Kenley Farmer, Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF)

NHC invites guest blog posters to write on important housing topics. The views expressed by guest bloggers do not necessarily reflect those of NHC or its members.

The nature of the affordable multifamily housing stock presents a unique set of challenges for achieving energy and water savings in the built environment. One of the challenges most often cited in these efforts is the cost of energy audits.  

Through HUD’s Energy Innovation Fund, and with the support of ICF International and Bright Power, Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) developed the EZ Retrofit Tool, a free, user-friendly resource that provides property owners and managers with a scope of water and energy efficiency measures tailored specifically to their building.

The EZ Retrofit Tool:                                                                       
  • Streamlines the building review process by considering a limited number of energy conservation measures (ECMs) that are widely applicable in the low-income multifamily rental housing sector.
  • Is Excel-based, allowing the files to be easily shared and used by multiple staff members.
  • Includes extensive User Guidance including printable checklists and data collection sheets.
  • Offers an initial Benchmarking score to determine the potential scope of efficiency measures based on actual utility usage.
  • Provides both an “EZ” interface for quick assessment and an “Advanced” interface that offers detailed specifications for suggested scopes of work, recommendations for new equipment and ways to hone projected costs by taking into account contractor estimates and utility rebates. 

SAHF’s aim under the EZ Retrofit program is to reduce the burden on building owners by facilitating a simplified demonstration of the potential energy and water opportunities in a particular multifamily building. Our broader goal is to foster efficiency and conservation policies by providing building data to decisionmakers in order to promote scalable energy and water efficiency activities across the affordable multifamily sector.

I’ll be demonstrating the tool during an Oct. 14 webinar hosted by the National Housing Conference. Please join me to see the EZ Retrofit Tool in action and hear from an owner and an engineer who successfully used the tool. You can register online here

For more information or to download the EZ Retrofit Tool, please visit or contact me at

Kenley Farmer is an Energy Program Manager at Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future who is working to overcome barriers for energy and water efficiency in the affordable multifamily housing sector.  

Stewards of Affordable Housing For the Future (SAHF) represents eleven high capacity not-for-profit members who acquire, preserve and are committed to long-term, sustainable ownership and continued affordability of multifamily rental properties for low-income families, seniors, and disabled individuals.

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