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IREM Survey Finds Multifamily Behind Commercial in Energy Benchmarking

January 31, 2017 | Todd Feist

According to the first IREM Energy Efficiency Survey, conducted in April 2016, multifamily is significantly behind commercial in energy benchmarking. Over half of survey respondents in multifamily real estate either did not benchmark their properties at all or did not know their company’s practices. Only 19.3 percent of respondents were able to benchmark the entire property.

Benchmarking practices - Multifamily

Conversely, almost three-quarters of commercial real estate professionals indicated some level of benchmarking at their properties, with 38.5 percent able to practice whole-building benchmarking.

Benchmarking practices - Commercial

More Multifamily Benchmarking on the Way

Despite these findings, several trends and developments point to expanded benchmarking in multifamily properties.

  • Multifamily professionals seem to recognize the business benefits of energy efficiency. A total of 75 percent of multifamily respondents said that energy management was either “very important” or “important” to their company’s business.
  • Multifamily professionals want to learn more about energy efficiency, with 70 percent of respondents indicating that they were either “very interested” or “somewhat interested” in additional education on energy management.
  • Access to energy data to benchmark properties is increasing, albeit slower than is necessary. This includes access to aggregate whole-building energy data in order to take full advantage of benchmarking tools such as ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®. Whole-building energy data is also necessary to comply with local ordinances that require benchmarking.
  • Since 2014, ENERGY STAR scores and certification have been available for multifamily communities. A 1 to 100 ENERGY STAR score is an easily understandable metric useful for making improvements, practicing portfolio energy management, and comparing to peers. And ENERGY STAR certification has marketing and leasing benefits; almost 90 percent of consumers recognize the ENERGY STAR brand.


For more survey findings, download Building Performance That Pays: Insights from the First IREM Energy Efficiency Survey from the IREM website.

The IREM Certified Sustainable Property program at provides an excellent framework for improving the resource efficiency of your properties, making them more environmentally and financially sustainable.

Your team can learn to benchmark your multifamily communities in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager at the ENERGY STAR training page.

For more information on energy efficiency in the multifamily sector, read Catalyzing Efficiency: Unlocking Energy Information and Value in Apartment Buildings from the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT).

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