Data: Utility bills up to eight times higher for inefficient buildings

Winter can drive a 6x jump in utility costs, according to world's largest database of multifamily utility bills

Dec 10, 2013, 08:57 ET from WegoWise

BOSTON, Dec. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- WegoWise, a building intelligence provider, today announced that utility bills for inefficient buildings cost up to eight times more than bills for efficient buildings. During the winter months when bill disparity peaks, least-efficient buildings use eight times more gas, five times more electricity and four times more oil than the most-efficient buildings. The most expensive month for multifamily building utility bills across the United States is January.

Findings were drawn from WegoWise's database of more than 17,000 buildings and 1.6 million utility bills. Most-efficient and least-efficient buildings are defined as those that are in the top 10 percent and lowest 10 percent of efficiency. WegoWise holds the largest collection of multifamily housing utility data in the world.

WegoWise also found regional differences between utility expenses are heightened with the onset of winter's colder temperatures:

  • In Massachusetts, utility customers use six times more gas in the winter, translating to a median bill increase of $33 per bedroom per month.
  • In California, despite a milder climate, utility customers still use 70 percent more gas in the winter than the rest of the year.

"Winter is coming, and it makes a disproportionate impact on inefficient buildings," said Barun Singh, chief technology officer at WegoWise. "Owners or managers of inefficient buildings stand to save thousands per month on their winter utility bills simply by bringing their buildings up to average efficiency. Year-round, targeted retrofits provide a clear, bankable path to increase efficiency and boost net operating income."

WegoWise has also tracked property upgrades and resultant cost savings. The data reveals that most popular retrofits are boiler replacements and insulation upgrades, which are key to reducing winter bill spikes. Also popular are water upgrades, which help reduce water costs and electricity costs associated with water heating.

"Building retrofits and related intelligent controls can often lower energy consumption by up to 20-30 percent. Those savings can be even greater during the winter months due to heightened use in heating and lighting, some of the largest loads in buildings," said Natalie Volpe, research analyst at Cleantech Group. "The difficulty is in convincing building operators and property managers to invest in these projects in order to achieve those energy reductions. Innovators like WegoWise are needed both to prove the business case of those potential savings and unlock those opportunities for building owners and managers."

About WegoWise
WegoWise is an industry-leading utility intelligence provider for the real estate industry. Bridging big data and energy efficiency, WegoWise distills large aggregations of energy and water data into useful, actionable information for building owners, managers, energy auditors and building efficiency programs, enabling them to automatically track, understand and benchmark building performance, and make better efficiency investment decisions. WegoWise's platform regularly identifies impressive opportunities for cost savings, as inefficient buildings typically pay four times the utility costs of efficient buildings. Learn more on our blog: