EDR Multifamily Design

Guide for Energy Efficiency
This report was prepared by Pacifc Gas and Electric Company and funded by California utility
customers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. Neither Pacifc
Gas and Electric Company nor any of its employees and agents:
1. Makes any written or oral warranty, expressed or implied, regarding this report, including,
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but not limited to, patents, trademarks or copyrights.
November 2009
Introduction ................................................................................... 2
Unique Challenges and Solutions for Multifamily Energy Efficiency .. 3
Impact of Title 24 Code Requirements on Building Energy Use ......... 5
Energy Efficiency Measures for Multifamily Buildings ..................... 9
Non-Energy Benefits of Multifamily Energy Efficiency ................... 20
Special Opportunities for Affordable Housing ................................. 22
Resources for Designers and Product Specification ......................... 24
List of Figures, Graphs, and Tables
Figure 1: Multifamily Construction as Percentage of Total Residential
Construction in CA............................................................................... 2
Figure 2: Time Dependent Valuation Graph .......................................... 5
Figure 3: Diagram of Integrated Multifamily Design Process ................ 9
Figure 4: Example of 15% Compliance Options Analysis—
Weighing Windows, Duct Testing, and Hot Water Controls for a
Sample Project .................................................................................. 18
Figure 5: Simple Payback Cost-Benefit Analysis Process .................... 19
Figure 6: Average Percentage of Monthly Income Spent on Utilities 20
Figure 7: Impact of an EEBUA ........................................................... 23
According to the California Department of Finance’s Economic Forecast, the number of multi-
family new construction units permitted in California has grown from 26% of all residential
permits to around 40% between 2005 and 2007. Assuming this trend continues, California
could save an average of 1,155,521 kWh annually if just 10% of the newly constructed units
exceed 2008 Title 24 standards by 15%.

This Multifamily Design Guide For Energy Effciency provides a summary of resources, methods,
and tools to assist the design community in building more energy effcient multifamily build-
ings. Energy effciency in multifamily buildings is measured, regulated, and evaluated in Cali-
fornia by both the Title 24 Building Energy Standards and the Title 20 Appliance Standards.
This document focuses on multifamily energy effciency in an effort to better understand
appliance effciency metrics and the various mechanisms for exceeding the minimum Title 24
building standards.
Architects, engineers, energy consultants and owner-developers with a basic knowledge of
building science fundamentals will learn how these subjects apply and are specifcally relevant
to multifamily housing projects.
Based on PG&E projections for estimated kWh savings for California Multifamily New Homes program.
Dat a f r om t he
Cal i f or ni a
Depar t ment of
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F i gure 1:
Mult i fami ly
Const ruc t i on a s
Pe rc e ntage of
Total Re si de nt i al
Const ruc t i on i n C A
2007 2005 2003 2001 1999 1997 1995 1993 1991 1989 1987 1985 1983
There are several challenges unique to multifamily housing that owner-developers must over-
come for energy effciency to make economic sense. They can all be addressed, however, through
proper planning, good decisions, and early investment in energy effciency.
Various Multifamily Building Types
Title 24 defnes a multifamily building as one that contains three or more attached dwelling
units. This defnition spans various multifamily building confgurations including low-rise,
high-rise, mixed-use, and attached town homes, each of which require different approaches
when making energy effciency decisions. For example, the energy use profles and energy eff-
ciency options for high-rise and mixed-use buildings differ from those of single family residen-
tial construction. High-rise multifamily projects (four or more habitable foors) are regulated by
the non-residential energy code for envelope and Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning
(HVAC) measures and the residential code for water heating and lighting. Also, mixed-use
spaces, such as offces, retail, and recreational facilities, which are often included in multifamily
buildings, are covered by non-residential code and construction practices.
Split Incentive
Multifamily developers often overlook investing in energy effciency if they do not directly
beneft from the resultant monetary savings. When the tenants beneft fnancially from energy
effciency decisions paid for by the owner, it is called a ‘split incentive’. What many owners and
developers often fail to realize, however, is that an energy effcient building with documented
lower utility costs and higher occupant comfort levels can provide indirect benefts such as
decreased vacancy rates, reduced turnover, an edge over the competition, and, in some cases,
higher than average rent.
An investment in energy effciency is more likely to occur in cases where the owner-developer
maintains control of the property and pays for the utilities, since it typically proves to make
good economic sense. Therefore, both the eventual ownership structure and the utility bill
payment system play a signifcant role in equipment and system selection during design.
Shared Systems vs. Individual Systems
Multifamily buildings often have a combination of shared and individual systems serving the
HVAC and domestic water heating (DHW) needs of the dwelling units. It is common to have a
central boiler provide hot water and sometimes space heating as well. At the same time, cooling
may be provided through local fan-coil units. For large multifamily buildings, the decision
about which systems to choose is dependant on several factors such as frst costs, maintenance
costs, and allowing tenants local control over their indoor environment.
Energy Use Schedules
Energy use schedules in multifamily buildings are not as predictable as, say, an offce building,
where one can assume people are working between certain hours of the day and that the space
is unoccupied outside those hours. In residential buildings, the uncertainty of occupancy times
makes it diffcult to estimate peak demand or energy use. Within a given dwelling unit, it is
diffcult to predict how much energy occupants will use, both in terms of duration of energy
use and operation of systems. Occupant behavior impacts the building energy use independent
of the technical effciency of the system.
Water Heating as a Higher Percentage of Total Energy Budgets
Another key aspect of multifamily buildings is that, when considering the combined elec-
tric and gas budget for space heating, cooling, water heating, lighting, and process loads, the
energy used to heat water is typically a higher percentage of the overall energy use than in
other building types. While water heating is a standard necessity in both single family and
multifamily residential buildings, it is a larger portion of the total energy bill in multifamily
buildings due to increased occupant density and reduced building envelope areas. In areas
where there is not a signifcant heating or cooling load, such as California climate zones 3 and
5, the dominance of the water heating energy use over the other energy uses becomes even
more signifcant.
For these reasons, it is important to take an integrated approach to the complex multifamily
building and system design so that incremental frst costs are minimized and the long-term
energy effciency of the building is maximized. This document provides information on strate-
gies to achieve this integrated design while maintaining cost savings.
The multifamily building sector was not included in California’s Building Energy Effciency
Standards (Title 24, Part 6) prior to 1998. Between 1998 and 2005, several loopholes in
code provisions signifcantly reduced the effectiveness of Title 24 regulations for multifamily
buildings. By correcting and clarifying most of these loopholes, the 2005 code change signif-
cantly raised the bar for energy effciency in multifamily buildings. Overall, the 2005 standards
increased the energy effciency of a minimally compliant multifamily building by about 24.3%
for electricity usage, 25.8% for electric demand usage, and 15.7% for gas usage over that of a
minimally compliant building under the 2001 standards.
The 2008 energy code, effective August 1, 2009, further raises the bar with new roofng
performance requirements, more stringent minimum performance requirements for fenestra-
tion, and additional HERS measures. The changes require new multifamily buildings to use
approximately 19.7% less electricity, 7.4% less demand electricity, and 7.0% less gas than was
standard for a home compliant with 2005 standards.
Time Dependent Valuation (TDV)
Time Dependent Valuation (TDV) was introduced with the 2005 Title 24 standards. TDV
changed how energy is ‘valued’ based on the time of day, the time of the year, and the build-
ing’s climate zone. It plays an integral role in the energy budget calculation for the performance
method by assigning high values for on-peak electric savings (e.g. summer afternoons) and low
values for off-peak electric savings (e.g. nighttime).
In the 2008 Title 24 code, the difference in valuation of electricity on-peak versus off-peak is larger.

F i gure 2:
Graphi c al
I l lust rat i on of
Ti me De pe nde nt
Valuat i on Graph
Time Dependent
Energy Value in 2008
Flat Energy Value used in
2001 standards
With fat energy value a kWh saved is
valued the same for every hour of the day
TDV places a higher value on a kWh saved during a high-
cost peak hour than that saved during an off-peak hour

Monday Friday
Time Dependent
Energy Value in 2005
Consequently, there is greater Title 24 compliance credit given to peak electric energy saving
measures, like high energy effciency ratio (EER) air conditioners and low solar heat gain
coeffcient (SHGC) windows, versus measures that save energy off-peak. Conversely, TDV
results in greater Title 24 compliance penalties for building features that cause increased energy
consumption during on-peak periods, such as a disproportionately higher percentage of glazing
on west-facing facades and oversized, un-shaded windows or skylights.
Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Measures
Each new cycle of the Title 24 Standards increases the emphasis placed on site verifcation
performed by a certifed HERS Rater. HERS Raters provide a valuable quality assurance
service, ensuring that the equipment or envelope measure specifed in the energy calculation is
actually installed in the building.
The 2008 code includes a list of new HERS verifcation measures. For example, the standards
no longer acknowledge a thermal expansion valve inspection in place of a refrigerant charge test.
The presence of a refrigerant charge light indicator display, however, may now be verifed in place
of the refrigerant charge test. Other new HERS verifcation measures include testing air handlers
for air leakage, verifying cooling coil airfow, and exchanging quality insulation installation for
spray polyurethane foam, all spin-offs of HERS measures included in past codes.
The following graphic illustrates changes to those measures requiring HERS verifcation.
2005 HERS Measures
Reduced Duct Leakage
Supply Duct Location and Deeply Burried Ducts
Duct Surface Area and R-value
Improved Refrigerant Charge
Thermostatic Expansion Valve
Air Handler Fan Watt Draw
High EER
Maximum Cooling Capacity
Adequate Airfow
Building Envelope Sealing
Quality Insulation Installation

New or Revised Measures for 2008
Low Leakage Air Handlers
Refrigerant Charge Indicator Light Display (CID)
Verifed Cooling Coil Airfow
Evaporatively Cooled Condensers
Ice Storage Air Conditioners
Quality Insulation Installation for Sparay Polyurethane Foam
PV Field Verifcation Protocol
Measures Removed from HERS Testing in 2008
Thermostatic Expansion Valve
Adequate Airfow
Envelope Measures
2008 Title 24 revisions tightened envelope effciency requirements by adding performance
requirements for roofng materials and increasing window effciency standards.
The 2008 Title 24 requirements are more stringent for glazing U-factor requirements in
all climate zones, while SHGC requirements have been lowered in some climate zones. A
new National Fenestration Rating Council Component Modeling Approach (CMA) is now
allowed for modeling of site-built fenestration without physical testing.
Other 2005 Title 24 prescriptive requirements remain unchanged in the 2008 Title 24 stan-
dards, including:
West-facing window-to-foor ratios exceeding 5% result in a compliance penalty for low- ƒ
rise buildings. In high-rise buildings, west-facing window-to-wall ratios exceeding 40%
result in a compliance penalty.
For both low-rise and high-rise buildings, window area of the proposed building is ƒ
compared to a standard design with identical window area.

In 2008 Title 24, maximum prescriptive U-factors for high-rise residential envelope assemblies
were revised in certain climate zones. Consequently, metal-framed walls and screw down metal
roofs without thermal blocks now require continuous insulation to meet the new requirements.
The 2005 Title 24 regulation de-rating the effective R-value of an envelope assembly by approx-
imately 13% for ‘standard’ insulation installation in low-rise residential buildings remains in
force with the 2008 standards. This addresses the poor quality of typical insulation installation
and the resultant decrease in overall R-value of the assembly.
Under the 2008 Title 24 code, there are new prescriptive standards for the thermal emittance
and refectance of roofng products. The most signifcant change includes specifcations for
steep-sloped roofs, making them similar to the previous requirements for low-sloped roofs.
The refectance for the roofng product must now be ‘aged-refectance,’ which is the refectance
estimated after three-years of feld use of the product, rather than refectance of a new roof.
For high-rise buildings, these requirements apply to:
Low-sloped roofs in climate zones 10, 11, 13, 14, and 15 ƒ

For low-rise buildings, they apply to:
Low-sloped roofs in climate zones 13 and 15 ƒ
Lighter weight steep-sloped roofs in climate zones 10 through 15 ƒ
Heavier weight steep-sloped roofs in all climate zones ƒ

In addition, a new Solar Refective Index (SRI) calculator allows some trade-offs between
refectance and emittance lower than 0.85.
Central Domestic Water Heating
In the 2008 Title 24 standards, additional requirements for central water heating systems ensure
more effcient operation. They include new mandatory requirements for either the installation
of an air release valve on a riser immediately upstream from the pump or the attachment of the
pump on a vertical section of pipe to avoid pump failure from air pockets in the recirculation
loop. A hose bib must also be installed immediately downstream of the pump to allow the
pump to be primed after maintenance and isolation valves must be provided to allow for easy
removal of the pump. In addition, 2008 Title 24 includes a new mandatory requirement to
install a check valve on the cold water make-up line into the heater to minimize crossover fows
between hot and cold water pipes.
HVAC requirements for the 2008 code are designed to reduce peak load. These include:
Credit for high Energy Effciency Ratio (EER) with HERS feld verifcation ƒ
A mandatory minimum Seasonal Energy Effciency Ratio (SEER) of 13.0 for small air ƒ
conditioners and heat pumps based on the 2007 federal appliance standards
Increased prescriptive duct insulation R-values (except climate zones six through eight) ƒ
Prescriptive duct testing in high-rise buildings ƒ

Since the residential standards are requiring a tighter building envelope, there must also be
a way of ensuring healthy air changes within a home. Consequently, 2008 code additions
include mandatory whole-house mechanical ventilation. Mechanical ventilation requirements
also include proper sealing of walls between garages and the house and exhausting bathrooms,
clothes dryers, and HVAC combustion to the outdoors.
The 2005 code option for HERS verifcation of a thermal expansion valve in place of a refrig-
erant charge test in split system air conditioners was traded for the presence of a refrigerant
charge light indicator in the 2008 prescriptive standard.
Mandatory lighting measures require that general lighting fxtures in bathrooms, garages,
laundry rooms, and utility rooms are either high effcacy or controlled by occupancy sensors.
Additionally, the total wattage from installed high-effcacy fxtures in kitchens must equal or
exceed that of the installed wattage from low-effcacy incandescent fxtures.
2008Title 24, section 113(c)5
Mandatory Minimums, Prescriptive, and
Above Code Performance
California’s energy code sets forth mandatory minimum requirements for building envelope,
mechanical equipment, and lighting that applies to all residential projects, regardless of climate
zone, statewide. In addition, a project must meet the appropriate prescriptive minimum
requirements for each of the sixteen California Energy Commission (CEC) defned climate
zones to receive a building permit. If a building deviates from the compliance constraints of the
prescriptive approach or shows performance beyond code minimum, the whole building must
comply with the performance approach. When a project intends to go beyond code with the
performance approach, it is measured in terms of ‘percent better than standard.’ From 2001 to
2011, statewide utility residential new construction programs and the ENERGY STAR® for
Homes Program and have set 15% better than standard as the next incremental step towards
achieving energy effciency. Regardless of whether or not a project is participating in a utility-
sponsored energy effciency incentive program, each high-effciency multifamily project must
utilize the whole building performance approach to demonstrate compliance with their better-
than-code goal.
In California, EnergyPro and MICROPAS are the software tools approved by the Energy
Commission to model buildings for performance compliance with residential Title 24 require-
ments. An energy consultant typically uses these software programs to prepare documents that
demonstrate the building design meets or exceeds California’s Title 24 Building Energy Standards.
Integrated Design Process
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Integrated energy design is an approach that looks at building components as part of an inte-
grated and interactive system rather than stand alone components. Since the building design
and construction of multifamily buildings involves numerous trade disciplines in the decision
making process, integrated design requires close collaboration between the owner-developer,
architect, mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, energy consultant, and a utility or energy
effciency program representative. Energy effciency objectives and decisions also need to
be conveyed to contractors, purchasers, construction superintendents, fnancing teams, and
leasing agents.
Design charrettes, brainstorming, and decision-making sessions are an effcient and effective
way to gather the expertise of the project’s contributors, encourage them to establish the scope
of the project, and facilitate them in creating an integrated solution. With common energy eff-
ciency goals established in an early design phase charrette, an energy consultant can calculate
a rough model of the expected building energy consumption. Performing a building simula-
tion early in the design phase establishes the building’s basic energy effciency profle within
its climate zone and site. Additionally, these models inform the building geometry with the
optimal specifcations for essential parameters, such as window orientation and area, which aids
in decreasing the need for mechanical systems and performance elements, like HVAC sizing
and windows. Upon making some intuitive decisions about the interaction of these systems,
the design team will use the building simulation tools to assist in the decision-making process
during design development. To evaluate the options produced by the building simulation tools,
cost-beneft analyses are also used to make fnal decisions about design and specifcations.
Following are essential topics to cover during a charette to help ensure that energy effciency is
analyzed comprehensively:
Optimize long-term energy cost savings through energy effciency ƒ
Establish funding and fnancing criterion, such as LIHTC, to be included in the project ƒ
Identify measure combinations that result in optimal energy effciency ƒ
Consider utility and other incentives and rebates to reduce frst costs ƒ
Use cost analysis tools to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of measures ƒ
Consider on-site generation to complement energy effciency ƒ
Identify green marketing opportunities ƒ
Don’t forget the non-energy benefts of energy effciency ƒ
Energy Efficiency Measure Selection
There are various means to cost-effectively achieve whole building energy effciency. Using a
package of measures specifc to each building, its respective climate zone, and site layout is often
the most practical mechanism to go beyond the Title 24 requirements. While certain energy
effciency measures have predictable performance in specifc climates and building prototypes,
no two buildings are exactly the same. Each building needs its own customized set of measures
that meet both the energy effciency and cost-effectiveness criterion. Cost-effectiveness is a
simple comparison between two economic elements—frst costs and long-term energy savings.
A cost-effective solution is one that uses a combination of measures that provide comfort
to the occupants, reasonable up-front costs for the owner-developer, and lowered long-term
energy usage.
Designing the most cost-effective high-effciency buildings requires the project team to eval-
uate packages of measures by comparing their upfront costs against their energy savings over
the lifetime of the building, rather than selecting individual measures in isolation. Performing
multiple building simulation runs with different combinations of measures establishes the
sensitivity of particular measures in that building. This parametric analysis gives the design
team an understanding of the most cost-effective measures to achieving greater energy eff-
ciency. The resultant building will include a package of climate-appropriate measures where
each individual measure performs optimally and acts in synergy with the others.
Next we will look at some of the common measures used to increase energy effciency in multi-
family buildings and how to choose an appropriate package of measures for a specifc project.
Site Considerations
Every building site comes with a unique set of climate conditions. The two main site aspects
that impact energy performance are sun and wind, which directly affect the orientation and
exterior envelope of a building. Creating a building design that responds optimally to site
infuences should be considered early in the design process so as not to miss this opportunity
for cost-effective energy savings.
Optimal shape and building orientation decrease the need for heating, cooling, and electric
lighting. Although there is some additional time required in the design phase, these measures
can yield the most cost-effective energy savings because there are no associated material or
installation costs, as there are with mechanical measures, and the consequent savings accumu-
late over the lifetime of the building.
The general idea is to maximize solar gains in winter and minimize them in summer, especially
in the afternoons. Orienting larger surfaces to the north or south and shading windows on the
south are the most common mechanism of ensuring energy savings through this method. To
provide protection from wind and reduce ambient temperatures, one can also take advantage
of natural shading features on site, such as trees, hills, and surrounding buildings.
Building envelope
Building professionals call the outer layer of a building the building envelope because it
envelopes the interior living space. This outer layer includes walls, roofs, foors, windows,
doors, and skylights. The building envelope is the primary source for solar heat, light, and air
to enter and exit the building. Thus, envelope effciency is a principal determinate of heating
and cooling loads in a building.
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Quality Insulation
Insulation is used in combination with building materials that readily transfer heat, such as
brick, concrete, or wood, because of its ability to resist heat fow. The energy performance
specifcation for insulation in low-rise residential buildings is the R-value, a measure of a mate-
rial’s resistance to conductive heat transfer. The minimum prescriptive R-values (see Section
151, Table 151-C of the 2008 Title 24 standards for detailed specifcations) vary by climate
zone and are highest in those with extreme temperatures, such as climate zone 1 and 11-16.
Installing insulation with a higher R-value than what is prescriptively required by Title 24 can
be a cost-effective method to achieve a performance credit.
For high-rise residential buildings, the metric used for insulation performance is the U-factor,
which is the metric for how much heat is transmitted through the construction assembly. Thus,
while higher is better for R-value in terms of energy performance, lower is better for U-factor.
The maximum prescriptive U-factors vary by climate zone and by construction assemblies
(wood-framed vs. metal-framed vs. heavy mass).
When calculating the overall R-value of the construction assembly, the R-values for each indi-
vidual envelope components are added together to calculate the overall resistance to heat fow
of the assembly. When calculating the overall U-factor of the construction assembly, the inverse
for each individual envelope component is added together. The overall U-value is then the
reciprocal of the result (ie. 1/Ua + 1/Ub = 1/Utotal). This resistance can be compromised,
however, and is much lower than the specifed level of insulation when insulation is not prop-
erly installed. The most common faws that degrade thermal performance in insulation instal-
lations are:
The insulation is not in contact with the air barrier, creating air pockets through which ƒ
convective air movements allow additional heat transfer, bypassing the insulation and
reducing overall energy performance. On the exterior envelope, the air barrier is gener-
ally the back of the drywall.
The insulation has voids or gaps, resulting in portions of the construction assembly that ƒ
are not insulated.
The insulation is compressed, creating a gap near the air barrier and/or reducing the ƒ
thickness of the insulation.

For low-rise residential buildings, these common problems of sub-standard insulation installa-
tion are addressed with the Quality of Insulation Installation (QII) HERS measure for wood
framed walls, ceilings, and roof assemblies (foor assemblies are not included). A standard
R-value calculation method is applied for the effective value used in Title 24 compliance. If
the insulation on a building is not to be inspected by a HERS rater, then this standard value is
reduced by 13%. If the insulation is to be inspected by a HERS rater following the procedures
of the QII HERS measure, a Title 24 compliance credit is available that restores the effective
R-value to the standard calculation value.
The QII measure verifcation is similar to the process set forth by the EPA in their Thermal
Bypass Checklist (TBC) requirement. This checklist identifes the sixteen areas where heat
most commonly bypasses the insulation. These must be verifed by a HERS rater in order for a
building to meet the minimum requirements for certifcation as an ENERGY STAR® home.
Air Sealing (Reducing Infltration)
Infltration is the unintentional exchange of conditioned air with unconditioned air through
cracks and leaks in the building envelope. Loss of conditioned air and the subsequent need to
condition the newly infltrated air represents a signifcant loss of energy. HERS verifcation by
a blower door test ensures that cracks and other leakage sources are sealed. Additionally, air
sealing produces non-energy benefts by preventing undesirable moisture infltration, making
living spaces draft free, and greatly improving comfort.
Radiant Barrier
A simple and cost-effective solution to block the sun’s heat from penetrating the roof and
heating the attic is a radiant barrier. A radiant barrier can reduce attic heat by up to 30% and
block up to 97% of radiant heat gain, saving energy and increasing comfort.
energy savings are achieved in homes where the HVAC and ductwork are within an attic space
with a radiant barrier because it reduces heat gain otherwise incurred by this equipment. The
essential characteristic of radiant barriers is that they are high refectance and low emittance
materials. A radiant barrier can have refective surfaces on one or two sides. If a one-sided
radiant barrier is installed, it must face an air space to be effective.
Radiant barriers are most effective in hotter climate zones and low-rise buildings. When incor-
porated into a well-thought-out energy effcient design (i.e. with a whole building approach)
that can be documented through a building energy simulation program, air conditioners can
be down-sized, which signifcantly reduces frst costs.
Glazing—Windows, Doors and Skylights
Windows, doors, and skylights transmit daylight, which brings health and a sense of well-being
into our homes. They also bring a connection to the outside world and the cycles of day and
night, winter and summer. However, a single pane glass window, commonly found in older
multifamily buildings, has insulation properties that cause it to lose heat ten to twenty times
faster than a well-insulated wall. The introduction of dual-glazed windows was a great improve-
ment, almost doubling the insulating value.
The overall size of the window itself is a key energy performance metric. Larger window area
effectively means larger heat fows between the indoors and outdoors, even when using the best
windows possible for a given climate (since insulated walls are better than the best windows in
terms of thermal performance).
“Radiant Barriers.” ToolBase Services. 8 July 2008
The orientation of windows also impacts energy usage in a building. Windows facing south
and west have more solar gains than those facing north and east. Large west-facing windows
are the least energy effcient window design. To this effect, Title 24 has limitations on total
window area as a percentage of total foor area for low-rise and of total wall area for high-rise
in the prescriptive approach.
The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) provides comprehensive ratings of window,
door, and skylight thermal effciency. Their fenestration evaluation system identifes three basic
properties to consider for energy performance calculations:
Insulation value (U-factor): ƒ a measure of conductive heat transfer that results from a
difference in air temperatures between the outside and inside
Solar Heat Gain Coeffcient (SHGC): ƒ a measure of heat transfer from direct or indirect
solar radiation that is independent of air temperature
Visibility (Visible Transmittance or VT): ƒ although not a measure of energy perfor-
mance, it is an important consideration when selecting a window; the choice of U-Factor
and SHGC will usually affect the VT of the window

Adjusting the U-factor and SHGC has signifcantly different effects on the energy performance
depending on whether the building is in a heating-dominated or cooling-dominated climate.
In cooling-dominated climates (inland hotter regions), reducing the SHGC will provide
larger energy savings than lowering the U-factor. This is because the heat from direct solar
radiation coming through windows is a magnitude larger than the heat from conduction
through windows.
In heating-dominated climates, on the other hand, a reduced U-factor has a relatively larger
effect on reducing heating energy. This occurs because any heat gains from solar radiation are
welcome in cold climates, whereas heat losses due to heat conduction from the warm interiors
to the cold outdoors contribute to higher energy use.
Window selection is not as simple as selecting a window with the ‘best’, i.e. lowest, perfor-
mance values. Each climate zone and building will have its own characteristic mix of heating
and cooling days throughout the year and the best energy effciency measures will vary accord-
ingly. Only computer simulation, either with specialized window programs like RESFEN and
Window5 or whole house simulation programs, can provide climate- and building-specifc
guidance for the optimal SHGC and U-value.
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
Purchasing a heating and cooling system for new and existing multifamily homes represents a
major cost decision. More often than not, the owner-developer needs to rely on professional
expertise for guidance. Since the lifetime cost of running heating and cooling equipment can
surpass the cost of the home itself, it pays to get the selection right the frst time.
Improving energy effciency with high-effciency equipment and distribution systems does
not have to result in unacceptably higher frst costs. When combined with effcient building
envelope measures and an accurate building load calculation, mechanical equipment can be
properly sized and the resulting cost savings can help pay for other energy effciency measures.
Common techniques for HVAC energy effciency are the use of higher effciency equipment,
correct sizing of air conditioners, proper duct system design and installation, reduced air
handler fan power, and adequate airfow over the indoor coil.
Selecting the right system is often based on prior experience and frst costs, not a rational energy
effciency decision. Do not allow your project to fall into this default. Not all systems are equal
energy users; central air conditioners, such as split or packaged systems, and heat pumps are
available in higher effciency ratings than smaller, room air conditioners. Heat pumps, for
example, tend to be 40-50%
more effcient than electric resistance baseboards because 1) the
heat generated is immediately transferred to the air stream and delivered (presumably) to the
correct location and 2) the heat transfer takes place in an enclosed environment, so more heat
is transferred to the air stream.
High-effciency HVAC Equipment
The simplest approach to improving equipment effciency is to choose ENERGY STAR®
labeled equipment. Higher effciencies can be attained by consulting online resources such as
the Consortium for Energy Effciency’s (CEE) Directory of ARI Verifed Equipment, which
groups equipment in effciency tiers above and beyond those provided by ENERGY STAR®.
Also useful is the Energy Commission’s Appliances Database, which lists equipment certifed
for use in the State of California in a simpler spreadsheet format.
SEER vs. EER Ratings
Although the federal standards look at the Seasonal Energy Effciency Ratio (SEER) rating,
in California, it is more important to select an air conditioner based on its Energy Effciency
Ratio (EER) rating, especially in the hotter, inland regions. The test conditions for the EER
rating are more like California’s hot, dry climate than the SEER rating, making it a better
measure of energy effciency performance in our area. The Energy Commission recognizes this
by rewarding high EER equipment with a much higher Title 24 credit than high SEER equip-
ment. This credit is only available when a HERS Rater verifes that the system consists of the
properly matched components necessary to achieve the high EER rating.
Correctly Sizing an Air Conditioner
Using a ‘rule of thumb’ approach or past experience to ballpark the equipment size typically
results in an oversized air conditioning unit. Oversizing is common because it ensures against
future customer complaints that the equipment cannot adequately cool or heat one or more
rooms. Oversizing, however, is a costly mistake, both in the infated frst cost of equipment
with unnecessary capacity and in the long-term cost to run the oversized unit.
As with any energy using system, savings will vary depending on climate and particulars of the building.
Heating and cooling equipment effciency is based on properly sized equipment. When an
HVAC unit is oversized, there is a signifcant effciency cost because the equipment is short
cycling, i.e. cycling on and off often. This short cycling can increase wear and tear on the
equipment, which reduces life expectancy and increases maintenance costs. In addition, the
oversized fans that blast hot or cold air creates uncomfortable drafty conditions and unneces-
sary noise in equipment that short cycles. Conversely, right-sized systems provide even heating,
cooling, and quiet operation.
The main benefts, however, are cost and energy savings. Properly sized equipment can reduce
energy usage by as much as 35%.
The bonus is the superior comfort that properly sized and
designed systems can provide.
Proper Duct Design and Installation
HVAC equipment effciency is only part of the equation for an energy effcient HVAC system.
No matter how effcient the equipment is, if the distribution system is not also well designed
and operating properly, the HVAC system as a whole will not be effcient.
The frst step towards an effcient air distribution system is to include an ACCA Manual D duct
design, or equivalent, as part of the construction documents. This will tell the HVAC installer
where to install the supply and return registers and what sized ducts should be connected to
them. It will also provide critical external static pressure information so the air blower can
be sized correctly. There is software available that can automatically calculate duct sizes and
airfow requirements.
Ducts in Conditioned Space
When the duct design process starts early enough, providing time to negotiate duct locations
with the architect and structural engineer, it is possible to locate ducts entirely within the
conditioned space. This can be particularly cost-effective as there are little to no incremental
costs, apart from advanced planning, detailing in the design stage, and coordination between
the trades during the installation stage. In multifamily construction, this strategy is best accom-
plished by locating the duct system within a central dropped ceiling (soffted) area. The equip-
ment is located in an adjoining closet or in the dropped ceiling itself. One of the most impor-
tant details of this approach is to maintain the sofftted area within the thermal and air barriers
of the conditioned space, which is often a required detail for fre protection purposes. Ducts
in conditioned space can also be accomplished by running the ducting in the structural space
between foors. This approach requires early consultation with the structural engineer because
they generally require open web foor trusses.
Sealed and Tested Ducts
Duct systems that are not sealed can leak 20% to 40% of their conditioned air in new homes
and as much as 40% in existing homes, wasting energy and increasing the cost to the consumer.
When ducts are located in unconditioned space (e.g. attic), leakage of conditioned air from
“Residential HVAC.” Consortium for Energy Effciency. 8 July 2008
supply and return ducts cause signifcant energy losses because there is less conditioned air
reaching the intended space. The situation for leaky return ducts is further complicated by the
potential risk to the health of the inhabitant. The air that is sucked in from attics, crawl spaces,
or other building cavities can be contaminated by dust, mold, chemicals, and/or airborne
pathogens from animals. It is therefore especially important to make sure that the return ducts
are sealed.
Sealed ducts save energy and money and improve indoor air quality. Duct sealing is assumed in
the baseline low-rise Title 24 building model for every climate zone. Buildings that do not have
sealed and tested ducts are assumed to leak 22% of their conditioned air and receive a penalty
in the code calculations. If a proposed building does not include sealing ducts, other measures
must be used to offset the penalty.
Water Heating
Because a multifamily project’s water heating energy budget often represents a signifcant
portion of the overall energy budget, water heating systems have a disproportionately large
impact on a project’s overall energy performance. There are various system options and
components that can improve performance, and therefore several layers of decisions. For
most large multifamily buildings, a central water heating system with a recirculation loop is
an effective method of delivering hot water in a reasonable amount of time. A central system
allows maintenance to be carried out at a single location, whereas having individual water
heaters in units multiplies the number of locations requiring maintenance, creating many
more locations within the building where leaks and water damage could occur. Addition-
ally, central water heaters are typically more effcient than individual water heaters. In order
to increase the effciency of the central hot water system, it is important to consider the
Effciency of the boiler/heater: ƒ The federal minimum and Title 24 standard for large
gas boilers is 80% thermal effciency. Simple atmospheric boilers can reach a maximum
of about 82% thermal effciency. Condensing boilers can attain thermal effciencies up
to 98% by capturing the sensible and latent heat from the fue gases.
Controlling energy use in recirculation loop pumps: ƒ Continuous pumping of hot
water wastes energy by using electric energy when hot water is not needed. Installing
controls, like demand and temperature modulation controls, that turn the pump off
when hot water is not needed is an effective energy effciency strategy.
Pipe location: ƒ Similar to ducts in unconditioned spaces, pipes (especially when un-in-
sulated) can lose a signifcant amount of heat to the surrounding air or ground when
exposed to the outdoors or buried underground. The best location for pipes is within the
building envelope so that heat losses are minimized.
Pipe insulation: ƒ It is important to insulate pipes, especially in unconditioned and
semi-conditioned locations. Underground pipes can cause massive heat loss due to the
high conductivity of ground moisture, so they require special watertight insulation.
In large hot water distribution systems, heat loss from piping accounts for 15-25% of
total domestic hot water gas consumption, so pipe insulation is an important means of
reducing energy waste.
Combination of Measures
By performing multiple building simulation runs with different combinations of measures, the
design team can determine the sensitivity of particular measures in that building. This kind
of parametric analysis becomes useful in later stages of design because the team as a whole has
a shared knowledge of where to expect the most cost-effective measures for achieving greater
energy effciency.
One of the things that building simulation software can accomplish, which is almost impos-
sible without the calculation power of a computer, is to accurately evaluate the effectiveness of
multiple measures and compare those results with alternate combinations. For example, it is
well known that a signifcant amount of the cooling load enters the living space through the
roof/attic/ceiling areas in hot climates. One might think that by simply adding insulation, the
cooling load could be controlled to any desired level. Insulation, however, is subject to the laws
of diminishing returns. Building simulation models show that combining a radiant barrier
with a comparatively lower level of insulation further reduces cooling loads and is a more cost-
effective solution for a particular climate zone than maximizing insulation alone.
It is important to remember that the goal of the integrated design process is not to use the most
effcient measure for any given building element, but rather to seek the most cost-effective
combination of energy effcient measures. Economics is always a prime consideration when
selecting any set of measures. Only by balancing the elements of frst cost and energy savings
can one achieve a combination of measures that will provide comfort to the occupants, cost
savings to the owner-developer, and low energy usage.
As seen in this example, the same measure or combination of measures can result in widely
divergent energy savings for different buildings having different envelope, HVAC, and site
Conducting a parametric analysis that explores various options is the best way to determine the
most effcient measure(s) for a given project.
F i gure 4: Ex ampl e
of 15% Compl i anc e
Opt i ons Analysi s—
We i ghi ng Wi ndows,
Duc t Te st i ng,
and Hot Wat e r
Cont rol s for a
Sampl e Proj e c t
* Not e : The se
savi ngs are not
guarant e e d
Bl dg D Bl dg C Bl dg B Bl dg A






0. 00
0. 05
0. 10
0. 15
0. 20
0. 25
Opt i on 4 = DHW Temperat ur e Cont r ol s
Opt i on 3 = Ti ght Duct s Onl y
Opt i on 2 = Hi gh Ef f Wi ndows + Ti ght Duct s
Opt i on 1 = Hi gh Ef f Wi ndows
Cost-Benefit Analysis
There can be multiple combinations of measures that will achieve similar levels of energy eff-
ciency for a building. However, this does not mean each combination is equally cost-effective.
A basic payback analysis is the simplest way to compare different energy effciency options.
The simple payback compares the initial purchase price (frst cost) of the energy effciency
measures to the projected dollar savings the frst year the measures are in place. In most new
construction projects and those where lower-effciency equipment is installed without an
energy effciency analysis, the frst cost is the incremental price difference between the energy
effcient measure and the code minimum or less effcient measure.

For larger projects, or those where long term cost-effectiveness is more important than frst
cost savings alone, a Life Cycle Cost (LCC) analysis is the best approach. Although energy
effciency frst costs can exceed those of conventional construction, the LCC of an energy
effcient building is typically much lower. Generally, the energy savings in an effcient building
will offset any upfront construction or installation costs.
LCC = First Costs + Operational Costs + Maintenance Costs + Replacement Costs +
Tenant/Occupancy Considerations – Salvage Value
Just as one should compare energy savings from a combination of measures, one should analyze
the costs associated with the measure combinations and analyze the cost-beneft ratio for energy
savings measures.
Where Incremental LCC = LCC of Energy Effciency Measures – LCC of Baseline Design.
Incremental LCC ($)
Energy Savings ($)
Cost-Beneft Ratio =
F i gure 5: Si mpl e
Paybac k Cost -
Be ne f i t Analysi s
Proc e ss
Incremental Measure Cost ($)
Predicted First Year Energy Savings ($)
Simple Payback (Years) =
Identify cost-effective enerey
efficiency measures
Specify EE measures in buildine enerey
simulation software
use simulation software output for
kwh and Therm Savines
Find utility rates and multiply by
kwh and Therm savines
Find incremental cost estimate for each
measure (0EEk databaseì
0ivide estimated annual utility savines
by incremental measure costs to eet
the number of year payback
If the cost-benefit numbers aren't
satisfactory, chanee the mix of measures
and beein aeain
Energy effciency not only provides direct energy savings and lower energy bills, but also non-
energy related benefts such as:
Greater Marketability for Market-Rate Housing: ƒ Market-rate multifamily builders
can differentiate themselves by marketing their homes as energy effcient, whether by
participating in a utility new homes program or meeting the ENERGY STAR® labeling
requirements. According to a National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) survey,
homebuyers are were willing to pay a median of $5,000 more upfront in the purchase
price of their next home to save $1,000 every year in utility costs.
ENERGY STAR® for Homes Partnership Marketing Benefts: ƒ As ENERGY STAR®
partners, builders can use the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) produced
marketing resources and technical resources at no cost. Some examples include:
ENERGY STAR® logos, partner locator listings, consumer brochures, fact sheets, sales
toolkits, outreach partnerships, awards, and recognition. For more information on these
benefts, visit www.energystar.gov/homes.
Greater Opportunity for Increased Revenue: ƒ Energy effcient features can help to
increase revenue; the projected energy and utility cost savings may allow a homebuyer to
purchase additional upgrades, thereby increasing builder proft.
Greater Affordability for Affordable Housing: ƒ The cost of housing includes both rent
and utilities. On average, middle-income households spend about 5% of their monthly
income on utilities, low-income households about 20%, and one out of every four low-
income older person spends about 20% or more of their total income on home energy
Simply put, energy effciency saves energy, lowers utility bills, and enhances long-
term home affordability.
Increased Comfort and Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: ƒ Energy effciency features
make homes more comfortable; comfortable homes reduce customer complaints and
callbacks and improve customer satisfaction. High performance heating and cooling
equipment help provide consistent temperatures, balance humidity, create proper airfow,
improve indoor air quality, and run more quietly. High performance windows conduct
less heat and reduce drafts to keep the home’s temperature more consistent. They also
help to reduce the fading of carpets, foors, furniture, and drapes as well as reduce
unwanted outside noise.
Lower Maintenance: ƒ Energy effcient products are associated with higher performance
and lower maintenance.
Quality Construction: ƒ Energy effciency implies quality and high performance. Because
many features in an energy effcient home, such as quality insulation installation or tight
duct verifcation, require a third-party inspection, builders, tenants, and homeowners
can be confdent that the energy effciency measures are installed properly.
Karen Brown, Ex Dir, Colorado Energy Assistance Foundation. James Benfeld, Ex Dir, Campaign for Home
Energy Assistance.
F i gure 6: Ave rage
Pe rc e ntage of
Mont hly I ncome
Spe nt on Ut i l i t i e s









Affordable housing and energy effciency both offer solutions to some of California’s, and the
nation’s, most pressing social and environmental problems. While technical challenges remain
in both areas, fnancing mechanisms often prove to be the determining factor for successful proj-
ects. Many affordable housing funding sources encourage energy effciency in their fnancing
requirements, often going as far as offering higher incentives or rebates for those projects that
incorporate energy effciency. This convergence of public policy goals has resulted in a range of
special funding rewards and opportunities for energy effcient affordable housing projects.
State and Federal Financial Assistance—Tax Credits
Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTCs): One of the most important sources of funding
for affordable housing in California, LIHTCs, are awarded to new construction and rehabilita-
tion projects on a competitive points basis by the Department of the Treasury, The Department
of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Department of Justice. Of the 155 total
points required for eligibility, there are currently a maximum of eight points available for incor-
porating sustainable measures, including energy effciency. Of those eight maximum points,
there are six available for energy effciency. In addition, there is discretionary funding, up to
5% of the project’s basis limit, for distributive energy technologies.
Federal Energy Effciency Tax Credits: Federal Tax Credits for New Homes are available for
site built homes, excluding rental properties and non-profts.
The builder receives $2,000 for each home whose performance is calculated to exceed ƒ
Heating and Cooling Use of Section 404 of the IECC’s 2004 Supplement by 50%.
Homes must be built after August 2005 and purchased between January 1, 2006 and ƒ
December 31, 2009.
New Solar Homes Partnership: The Emerging Renewables Program (ERP), administered
by the Energy Commission, was created to stimulate market demand for renewable energy
systems that meet certain eligibility requirements. The ERP offers rebates to reduce the initial
cost of the system for the customer in single and multifamily home new construction.
Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Public Housing Authorities
Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) play an active role in promoting energy effciency in
affordable housing. When affordable housing projects are funded through tax credits, the local
“ I nabi l i t y t o pay
ut i l i t i es i s s ec ond
onl y t o i nabi l i t y t o
pay r ent as a r eas on
f or homel es s nes s . ”
Karen Brown, Ex Dir, Colorado Energy Assistance Foundation. James Benfeld, Ex Dir, Campaign for Home
Energy Assistance.
housing authority sets the total housing burden, including rent and utilities, at 30% of the
tenant’s income. The utility portion is determined based on an average level of effciency for
multifamily buildings in the area, which includes those built before the introduction of energy
effciency standards. Rent is then calculated as the total housing burden minus utilities. This
standard Utility Allowance is artifcially high when applied to energy effcient projects.
In July 2008, the IRS authorized the use of an energy consumption software model to deter-
mine project-specifc utility allowances for new construction. This allows the owners of more
energy effcient buildings to charge more rent without affecting the total housing burden of
the tenant. Thus, the owner-developer has a mechanism to recover some, if not all, of the
cost to implement the energy effciency measures. Additionally, the tenant receives a small
beneft since the Energy Effciency Based Utility Allowance (EEBUA) is only partially reduced,
compared to the estimated energy savings (see Figure 7). In example below, owner’s rent income
increases $10/mo and tenant’s net utility costs decrease $2/mo without changing total calcu-
lated housing burden.
HUD Energy Action Plan
The overall goal of the HUD Energy Action Plan is to reduce energy use in HUD’s inventory
of public and assisted housing and HUD-fnanced housing by at least 5%. Public Housing
Authorities, community planning associations, the Federal Housing Association, and other
regional and local partnerships are also involved in this plan.
This Multifamily Design Guide For Energy Effciency is part of four new construction resource
materials and tools the Heschong Mahone Group, Inc. is developing to assist designers and
owner-developers of multifamily projects. These guides include:
Multifamily Design Guide for Energy Effciency ƒ
Case Study on Energy Effcient Multifamily Building ƒ
Design Brief on Effcient Central Water Heating in Multifamily Buildings ƒ
Multifamily Energy Effciency Training Slides ƒ
F i gure 7: Ex ampl e
of t he Pot e nt i al
I mpac t of an E E BUA
kcuf fo
ufiiifv cosfs s ufiiifv Aiiow»ucc
Energy Effciency-Based UA
Total Housing Burden $500/mo
Utility Allowance $90/mo
Developer Rent $410/mo
Tenant Utility Costs $88/mo
Standard UA
Total Housing Burden $500/mo
Utility Allowance $100/mo
Developer Rent $400/mo
Tenant Utility Costs $100/mo
Program Information
California Multifamily New Homes Program: SCE and PG&E ƒ
California Multifamily Energy Effciency Programs ƒ
General Information
California Association of Building Energy Consultants (CABEC) ƒ
California Multifamily Housing Consortium ƒ
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) ƒ
California Housing and Community Development ƒ
Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH) ƒ
US Green Building Council (USGBC) ƒ
Verification and HERS Rating
California Home Energy Effciency Rating System: www.cheers.org ƒ
CalCERTS: www.calcerts.com ƒ
Resnet: www.natresnet.org/herseems/ratingmethod.htm ƒ
Building Commissioning Association: www.bcxa.org ƒ
Energy-Effcient Mortgages: Home buyers looking to buy energy-effcient homes can ƒ
qualify for mortgages with more favorable loan terms
Solar and Wind Financial Incentives & Tax Credits ƒ
California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) ƒ
US DOE Building Technologies Program ƒ