Lakewood-based ICAST Paves the Way for Multifamily Sustainability

ICAST staff discussing goals, courtesy ICAST.

With support from a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) funding opportunity, the International Center for Sustainable Technology (ICAST), a nonprofit headquartered in Lakewood, Colorado, has completed energy-efficiency upgrades to nearly 1,000 multifamily buildings, yielding a reported savings of 7.4 million kilowatt hours (kWh), 850,000 therms, and almost 82,000 gallons of water, as well as nearly $2 million in utility cost savings.

The 2015 funding opportunity announcement (FOA), “Solutions to Improve the Energy Efficiency of U.S. Small and Medium Commercial Buildings,” issued and managed by EERE’s Building Technologies Office (BTO), targeted promising solutions to spur the growth of energy efficiency in the small and medium commercial building sector, which is less than 100,000 square feet in gross floor area but accounts for more than 50 percent of the energy used in the commercial sector, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey.

ICAST successfully concluded a three-year award under this FOA with efficiency results that touched almost 1,000 buildings and can be replicated across many more small and medium commercial buildings. At the start of the project, ICAST operated in two states, improving energy in about 100 multifamily buildings per year. With BTO’s investment, ICAST has grown significantly with staff in five states and energy-efficiency projects in an additional seven states. ICAST has exceeded all BTO project-specific goals, including the following:

Goal 1:  Retrofit 500 Multifamily Buildings ICAST has provided energy-efficiency retrofit services to approximately 1,000 buildings and consulting services in 2,000 more buildings.

Goal 2:  Launch Two New Services that Enhance the Sustainability of the ICAST Model ICAST launched a green consulting practice, which currently serves more than a dozen new clients and demand side management (DSM) programs for buildings in five utility territories.

Goal 3:  Create a “Franchise” or “Affiliate” Program ICAST has eight affiliates providing energy-efficiency services to the multifamily sector in four states and seven cities.

ICAST focuses on naturally occurring affordable housing, or NOAH, a significantly undeserved market in what is considered an already hard-to-serve commercial building sector. NOAHs are typically smaller properties (5 to 64 units), owned by small firms or individual investors.

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