May 28, 2015 | IMT

CONTACT: Katie Weeks, Institute for Market Transformation
202-525-2883, x306 /


Building types across the country prove that building owners do not need a billion dollar budget to reap substantial financial and property value benefits from energy efficiency retrofits.

WASHINGTON, DC – May 27, 2015 –Nearly five years ago the large-scale energy efficiency renovation of the Empire State Building in New York City captured the imagination of both energy efficiency advocates and the building industry. The $1 billion project was projected to save 38 percent of the iconic building’s energy and $4.4 million in energy costs annually.

Valuing Energy Efficiency, a new series of case studies from the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), shows that building owners across the United States do not need a building or budget the size of the Empire State Building to reap significant cost and energy savings from undertaking energy efficiency retrofits and upgrades. And, in fact, addressing energy efficiency in a wider range of building types, such as smaller mixed-use office buildings, laboratory and educational spaces, affordable housing, and manufacturing spaces, is a critical step to achieving major energy savings across the U.S.

“Our new case studies show that careful attention to financial parameters can help a wide range of building owners achieve substantial energy and cost savings without raising rents or product prices to justify efficiency expenditures,” said Cliff Majersik, Executive Director of the Institute for Market Transformation. “Many building owners of all building types can learn from the ingenuity showcased in our case studies.”

To unlock the major energy savings available in buildings across the U.S., energy efficiency projects must be undertaken in a wide range of building types, including Class B and C buildings, laboratory and educational spaces, affordable multifamily housing, and manufacturing facilities. In showcasing a diverse set of buildings that are outside of prime market areas, central business districts, and trendy neighborhoods, Valuing Energy Efficiency shows that many beneficial performance improvements can be taken as part of ongoing building and business improvement and maintenance efforts.

Featured projects include:

• Laboratory Space: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. The retro-commissioning of the University of Minnesota’s Biological Sciences laboratory highlights the opportunity to invest in energy efficiency in the institutional sector, where optimizing an existing building’s energy performance can extend its useful life.

• Mixed-Use Office Space: Self-Help, Wilmington, NC. Built in 1906, Self-Help’s downtown Wilmington property shows that an older building, likely designed without efficiency in mind, can improve its energy performance through retrofits while making the building more affordable for its retail, small business, and non-profit tenants.

• Manufacturing Space: Tusco Display, Tuscarawas County, OH. The custom fabrication company Tusco Display has used energy efficiency in its manufacturing and commercial spaces as a strategy to lower costs, improve productivity, and gain a cost advantage in a challenging market with many competitors.

• Multifamily Housing: Continental Plaza, Chicago, IL. Continental Plaza is a 1950s building that provides 164 affordable, one-bedroom apartments for seniors. To fulfill the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge, Hispanic Housing Development Corporation formed Affordable Community Energy, a unique mission-driven energy services company model to pursuing retrofits that cut its energy bill by 23 percent and its water bill by nearly 5 percent, while adding hundreds of thousands of dollars to the property’s value.

• Office Space: Self-Help, Greensboro, NC. Through energy efficiency retrofits, Self-Help uses operational expense savings to help preserve affordable rents for 21 non-profit tenants in a mid-rise office building in Greensboro.

• Multifamily Housing: CheckMate Realty & Development, Chicago, IL CheckMate Realty, a Chicago property owner dedicated to providing high-quality affordable housing, worked with Elevate Energy and Community Investment Corporation to retrofit a 31-unit naturally affordable multifamily building in South Shore Chicago, originally built in 1928.

Each case study, along with a summary report, can be downloaded for free at This series of case studies was jointly funded by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Energy Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and The Rockefeller Foundation.

Program Area(s):

Real Estate

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