Is this Still a Question?

Vox asks, “Can low-income housing be energy-efficient and affordable?” They’re reposting from Ensia. The first sentence answers with an unqualified, “Yes.” Then they get to the interesting bit, asking why it’s so hard and, “How?” After using Energy Efficiency for All research to lay out the cost-effective opportunity of 15-30% efficiency improvements, they explore financing, scale, policy, […]

We have Data on Apartment Building Efficiency in Minnesota

For four years, benchmarking multifamily buildings in Minnesota was a big part of my work. At long last, the final report from that project is public.  (A summary of findings is here.) Benchmarking takes the raw data of how much energy and water a building uses, and normalizes it by building size (and more), so […]

Certification Matters

Every year, I head online to buy carbon offsets. Three times, actually – for Flisrand Consulting, for my 4-unit apartment building, and for my personal consumption.  (For more background on my motivation, see my Greenwash Brigade post from two years ago.) I’m  a demanding customer, and I want to know I’m getting what I am […]

Making the Invisible Visible

Sustainability is often about making the invisible visible. It’s impossible to see which house is leaking energy in the winter.  Or where a watershed starts and ends. I love when the invisible becomes visible. Third-party certification for coffee or buildings or cleaning products was created so customers can SEE that one choice is intentionally going […]

Multi-family Apts. & Energy/Water Efficiency

I have spent countless hours of the last few years thinking about making existing multifamily buildings energy efficient.  The short answer is that it’s very, very hard, because there are so many structural hurdles in the way.  The long answer is finally, I see a glimmer of hope…