Quality Information for Energy Conservation

Multifamily Project Services

Our Multifamily building practice focuses on larger community oriented buildings such as apartment buildings, condominium complexes, and mixed-use commercial/residential projects. The projects share several characteristics that increase the difficulty of profitable completion. 

  • More communities and government agencies such as HUD and Low-Income housing authorities are adopting special “Green Building Requirements” as part of permitting and code compliance. These added requirements are very often based on USGBC’s LEED methodologies or the EPA’s Energystar program or both.

  • Multifamily buildings share a number of unique building science challenges that warrant special consideration to enhance energy efficiency, increase building durability, and avoid health and safety concerns. Typical “Best Practice” solutions often do not comply with the Green Building Requirements or come with heavy energy, financial and/or compliance penalties.

  • Changes in the economy and living patterns have increased the demand for multifamily units while the supply has not kept up creating a highly competitive environment for the better project sites. Developers margins are under pressure and new techniques for reducing construction costs are critical to project success

SEA assists developers address these challenges in several ways:

  • Green Building Impact Assessments
  • HVAC Strategy Analysis and Development
  • Green Building Budget Optimization
  • LEED and Energystar Certification
  • Green Building Requirement Compliance Management

We welcome the opportunity to discuss and potentially assist you in successfully completing your market-rate or low-income multifamily project. Please contact Jeffrey Rhodin at 781-790-5718 or jrhodin@sea.us.com.

Building Science Challenges in Multifamily projects. Due to housing density and desired economies of scale, these buildings often share parking garages, elevator shafts, stair columns, trash chutes, laundry & recycling rooms, corridors, and common ventilation systems.  When these areas are not addressed from an energy consumption perspective, these systems can contribute to unwanted air and energy flows and cause air-quality problems, comfort issues, and unnecessarily high operational costs.

LEED for Homes Mid-Rise, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a comprehensive green building rating system that rewards design teams for rigorous review at key stages of project development, encouraging better

  • Compartmentalization: from floor-to-floor, unit-to-unit, and unit-to-adjacent spaces, this work is critical to maintaining comfort, containing odors, and achieving energy efficiency goals.

  • Ventilation: LEED buildings are required to meet a more stringent ventilation requirement than their code-minimum counterparts, ensuring a better indoor environment.

  • Low-voc paints, adhesives, and building finishes: Air quality is directly impacted by the selections of construction and finish materials.

  • Careful planning of building infrastructure: typically, building trades determine where the respective infrastructure will run through a building in a non-integrated way, this can create unintended negative consequences and necessitate heating and cooling in utility areas. By designing infrastructure within the building, unnecessary use of energy can be avoided.

  • Location for minimized transportation needs: Locating housing near transit nodes, public amenities like green spaces, restaurants, libraries, etc. can have a positive impact on the quality of life for occupants enabling reduced auto-dependency and encouraging walking, bicycling and other forms of transportation

ENERGY STAR High-Rise, EPAs ENERGY STAR Homes standard now applies to buildings over 3-stories.