Going Green

EBRHA provides members with information on how to implement green practices in the multifamily sector. Our goals are to:

  • Help members improve their bottom line by going green
  • Show members how to ensure that their properties are compliant with green building, energy, and recycling ordinances
  • Offer local municipalities and agencies insights on how to incentivize rental property owners and managers to implement green building solutions
  • Promote discounts, rebates and incentives from vendors and partners

Issues addressed include water and energy efficiency, indoor air quality, green renovation and construction, recycling, green turnover practices, waste disposal and reduction, blight, landscaping and California’s emerging mandatory green building and energy codes.

It is in our member's interest as rental property owners and managers to have the knowledge, strategies and tools to create and maintain well-performing green investments—a performance that goes beyond a stable cash flow in the short term and makes steps to encompass return on investment for the duration of the building ownership or operation. Compared to conventional buildings, green buildings are more durable, more comfortable to live in, have better indoor air quality and yield higher rents.

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Green building improves design and construction practices so that buildings last longer, cost less to operate, and contribute to increase productivity and better working environments for workers or residents. It’s also about protecting natural resources and improving the built environment so that ecosystems, people, enterprises and communities can thrive and prosper.

There are new mandatory green building codes that impact both multi-family new construction and remodeling.  Check with your local building department for details.

Oakland’s Green Building Requirements

Berkeley’s Green Building Requirements

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As California faces one of the driest year’s on record, it is more important than ever that consumers do their part to reduce consumption. Did you know that saving water also saves energy? 19% of California’s electricity consumption goes to water related uses like pumping stations and treatment plants. These costs end up on your water bill. Reducing water waste is a triple win: save water, save energy, save money.

EBMUDEast Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) offers many tips and incentives to save water, including free low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators and rebates on high-efficiency toilets and clothes washers. EBMUD also offers rebates on lawn replacement, irrigation upgrades, mulch discount coupons and incentives for sub-meter retrofits. Go here for water saving tips and rebates.

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Common energy efficiency upgrades include switching to CFL or LED light bulbs, installing energy efficient appliances, new windows, better insulation, high-performance HVAC systems, solar water heating and solar electricity. There is a common misconception that the cost of making such upgrades are prohibitive, but savings are realized both in the short and long term.  An energy audit can determine where the most savings can be found, and how to prioritize upgrades.

Energy Rebates

eucaEnergy Upgrade California’s Bay Area Multifamily Building Enhancements offers cash rebates and free energy consulting for multifamily properties that undertake energy upgrades. The program assists in planning energy saving improvements designed to save about 10% of a building’s energy usage and provides $750 per unit in rebates to help pay for the upgrade.  Learn more here.

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Most people are unaware that indoor air quality is often worse than outdoor air quality. Indeed, it can be up to 10 times worse (source: Dunn). Chemicals, like radon and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mold and pet dander can produce a fairly unhealthy environment that can contribute to allergies, asthma and worse. Adhesives, paints, finishes, building materials, furnishings and cleaning products often contain harmful chemicals. Low-to-no VOC paints, good ventilation, clean air ducts and moisture control greatly improves indoor air quality. See more on common air pollutants, their health effects and ways to control their sources here.

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Rebates

Energy Upgrade California
Water Conservation Rebates 

Tax Credits

Currently, there is a 30% tax credit for solar installations on residential and commercial properties, available through 2016. Learn more at the Solar Energy Industry Association. Many energy efficiency or conservation credits have expired, but more information is available at on the California Franchise Tax Board site and at Energy Star.

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Alameda County has mandatory recycling and compost collection ordinances  for multi-family buildings with five or more  units.

StopWasteNew Compost Ordinance: Food scraps, food-soiled paper and plant debris collection service starts July 1, 2015 in Oakland.* Owners must provide containers of sufficient number and size for organics. Click here for free technical assistance and tools to help your residents recycle right.
*Effective July 1, 2014 in Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Livermore, Piedmont and unicorporated areas. 

Recycling Ordinance: Buildings must have service capable of handling the amount of recyclable paper, cardboard, glass and metal food and beverage containers, and PET (#1) and HDPE (#2) plastic bottles they generate.

More information on Multi-family Recycling Rules

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