BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 21

60 percent of residents live in rental homes, and up
to 70 percent of renters are students. In 95 percent
of Burlington's apartments the tenant pays directly
for utilities, which greatly reduces incentives for
upgrades. "That tells you that to do anything really
meaningful beyond changing a lightbulb, you have
to come up with something that engages both
the tenant and the property owner," said Burns.
"That's not easy."
Burlington is a landlord's market. According
to Burns, for the past 10 years the vacancy rate
has been somewhere between 0.5 and 1 percent.
As a result, rents have stayed high. In addition,
BED turns over 35 percent of its rental customers
every year. That's typical for a college town, and
it makes it even more challenging to reach a fairly
transient population.
Burns points out that despite these challenges,
Burlington's average residential usage is among
the lowest in the country, at a little under
400 kWh/month. While Burns says the city's
energy efficiency programs contributed to the lower
overall energy use seen in the residential market, he
acknowledges that many of the city's apartments are
in fact relatively small to begin with, with few outlets,
and no in-unit laundry. "In many cases the cell phone
bill is larger than the electric bill," said Burns.
But lower energy usage is not yet net zero. And
Burlington's route to net zero is further complicated
by the fact that many residential buildings are older
(late 1800s), with poor thermal performance.
"Taking all that into account, it's a tough market
to engage," acknowledges Burns.

CREATING NET ZERO
RESIDENTIAL INCENTIVES
Burlington is actively engaging its residents in its
net zero strategies in a number of ways. First, in the
1990s the city passed an energy code that applies to
renovation projects: energy-affecting components
such as windows and boilers need to meet energy
code, even if they are one-off replacements.
According to Burns, this approach resulted in many
small steps, which add up to big savings.
Second, acknowledging that its residential market
is dominated by rentals with split incentives to
upgrade for energy efficiency, the city passed an
ordinance in 1997 that mandates energy upgrades if
a building is below a BTU per square foot threshold
at the time of sale. This ordinance incentivized
new property owners to switch from oil to natural
gas. The result was huge: roughly half of all rental
weatherization dollars through Vermont Gas have
been spent in Burlington.
In addition to codes and ordinances, the city
created a series of friendly energy programs.
Each year, landlords are required to engage a
city building inspector to ensure basic health and
safety standards. BED educates the inspectors
about energy efficiency upgrades, and in turn, the
inspectors promote the program among landlords.
BED also created program aimed at residents
called the Energy Champ Challenge (named after
the a mythical seamonster in Lake Champlain
called Champ). It's joint program between BED and
Vermont Gas intended to unify and simplify how
residents can engage the two utilities. The program

PHOTO CREDIT:
SEAN PAVONE,
SHUTTERSTOCK.

NESEA.ORG * 21


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BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017

From the Executive Director: A strategic plan for emerging professionals.
From the Board Chair: Taking flight into new territory.
What is Strategic Electrification? Simply Put, It’s an Energy Transformation: A core pathway to deep carbon reduction.
Better Steam Heat: Generating steam system upgrades in New York City.
Going All the Way:What it will really take to achieve net zero energy in Burlington, VT.
Are You Forging the Weakest Link?: A deeper dive into how the quest for resilience alters the design process.
Air Quality in Your Bedroom: Nighttime Carbon Dioxide Levels in the Bedrooms of 22 Vermont Homes: Can occupants of leaky houses breathe easy in their sleep?
Inclusive Diversity Key to Sustainability: Opinion: Sustainability planning must embrace diversity.
BuildingEnergy Bottom Lines: An interview with Jonathan Orpin.
High Performance Walls: Discover an alternative to traditional insulation methods that can reach superior insulation performance with thinner walls.
SAF®– A Solar Faade to Stay?: A technical overview of the newest attachment systems in the low-energy construction market.
NESEA Green Pages: This premier resource for sustainability professionals in the Northeast and beyond is just a few pages away. To have your business listed in next year’s Green Pages and become a NESEA business member today, visit nesea.org/join.
Index to Advertisers
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - Intro
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - cover1
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - cover2
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 3
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 4
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 5
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - From the Executive Director: A strategic plan for emerging professionals.
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 7
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - From the Board Chair: Taking flight into new territory.
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 9
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - What is Strategic Electrification? Simply Put, It’s an Energy Transformation: A core pathway to deep carbon reduction.
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 11
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 12
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 13
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 14
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 15
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - Better Steam Heat: Generating steam system upgrades in New York City.
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 17
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 18
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 19
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - INSERT1
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - INSERT2
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - Going All the Way:What it will really take to achieve net zero energy in Burlington, VT.
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 21
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 22
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 23
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - Are You Forging the Weakest Link?: A deeper dive into how the quest for resilience alters the design process.
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 25
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 26
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 27
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 28
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 29
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - Air Quality in Your Bedroom: Nighttime Carbon Dioxide Levels in the Bedrooms of 22 Vermont Homes: Can occupants of leaky houses breathe easy in their sleep?
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 31
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 32
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 33
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - Inclusive Diversity Key to Sustainability: Opinion: Sustainability planning must embrace diversity.
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 35
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - BuildingEnergy Bottom Lines: An interview with Jonathan Orpin.
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 37
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - High Performance Walls: Discover an alternative to traditional insulation methods that can reach superior insulation performance with thinner walls.
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 39
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 40
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 41
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - SAF®– A Solar Faade to Stay?: A technical overview of the newest attachment systems in the low-energy construction market.
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 43
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 44
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 45
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 46
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 47
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - NESEA Green Pages: This premier resource for sustainability professionals in the Northeast and beyond is just a few pages away. To have your business listed in next year’s Green Pages and become a NESEA business member today, visit nesea.org/join.
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 49
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BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 75
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 76
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - Index to Advertisers
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 78
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - cover3
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - cover4
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - outsert1
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - outsert2
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - outsert3
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - outsert4
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - outsert5
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - outsert6
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