Low Income Program Studies
TXC50 Low Income Multfamily Health and Safety NEI Preliminary Findings Report
Synopsis: This report presents preliminary results from the first phase of a study estimating non-energy impacts (NEIs) attributable to improving the energy efficiency of low-income multifamily (LIMF) buildings in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (MA). These preliminary results are based on a partial data set and are only meant to inform the PAs in planning for 2019-2021. Later in 2018, the study team will deliver a comprehensive report with final results based on complete data. The study team followed a classical quasi-experimental research design. The sample consists of existing MF buildings with five or more units in MA and other cold climate states in the Northeast and Midwest that fall into one of three research groups: Comparison with Treatment (CwT) (i.e., already weatherized buildings); Treatment (T) (i.e., buildings that have not been weatherized, but will be); and Control (C) (i.e., buildings that will not be weatherized during the data collection period). The primary data collection instrument, a Resident Survey (RS), asks households a series of questions.
Conclusion: This preliminary report and analysis focuses on monetizing thirteen “core” NEIs. The core NEIs were previously monetized by a LISF study and/or the national evaluations of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). However, evaluators added reduced trips and falls to this study with the hypothesis that improved lighting and some health and safety measures could have an observable, monetizable impact on reduced injuries related to trips and falls inside the home. Table 1 and Table 2 present initial annual and present value (PV) estimates of the core NEIs, respectively. Evaluators calculated these estimates using simple rates of change (+/-) indicated by the preliminary survey results and measures installed, and applicable secondary scientific and cost data sources. Overall, the preliminary results support the hypotheses that (1) improving the energy efficiency of LIMF buildings results in positive monetary valuation of NEIs, and (2) both NEIs and NEI values are different for residents of MF housing than for residents of SF homes.
Low Income Single Family Health and Safety Related Non Energy Impacts Study
Synopsis: In 2011, evaluators in Massachusetts conducted a study of non-energy impacts (NEIs) attributable to the Massachusetts Program Administrators’ (PAs’) residential and low income (LI) programs that examined a number of health and safety-related benefits to LI residents. In 2015, an evaluation of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) was completed that included the assessment and monetization of twelve health and household-related impacts attributable to the weatherization of income-eligible single-family (SF) homes, at a national level. In order to complement Massachusetts evaluator’s findings, the MA PAs contracted with DOE study research staff to assess and monetize a sub-set of these NEIs experienced by recipients of energy efficiency services residing in income eligible households in MA. The subset of eight NEIs was selected based on their estimable, direct impact on the household, which was of most interest to the PAs; whereas, the remaining four estimated only societal impacts (i.e., reduced need for food assistance, improvement in prescription adherence, increased productivity at work due to improved sleep, reduction in low-birth weight babies from heat or eat dilemma).
Conclusion: The study presents the annual estimated values of the monetized NEIs selected for the MA LI SF NEI study, per weatherized unit—for both societal and household benefit categories. The overall valuation results are driven quite strongly by the assertion that the program is saving lives; however, given the uncertainty surrounding the estimate of the number of deaths avoided, the household cost savings have been presented both with and without the avoided death benefit. The main contributors to estimates presented are: avoided deaths from thermal stress, CO poisoning, and home fires; avoided hospitalizations and emergency department (ED) visits related to these three areas as well as asthma-related symptoms; and disposable income gains from fewer missed days at work. The study presents the Present Value for the estimates presented and provides a breakdown of the avoided number of deaths, if any, and hospitalizations, ED visits, and physician office visits annually for each health-related NEI, per 1,000 units weatherized.
Low-Income Multifamily Impact Evaluation
Synopsis: Through a series of workshops held in 2014, the Low Income Multifamily Stakeholders—including Program Administrators (PAs), evaluators, the low‐income advocacy agencies, Energy Efficiency Advisory Council consultants, and other initiative contractors—examined initiative activities and determined evaluation objectives. Based on broader objectives of verifying energy impacts, improving transparency and consistency in savings estimation methods, the evaluation team defined five key evaluation tasks: engineering analysis and literature review; natural gas billing analysis; common area lighting analysis; on‐site verification and measure analysis; and assessment of secondary impacts.
Conclusion: Appendix A presents a summary of deemed savings values. Through billing analysis of 217 facilities, the team estimated an average savings of 126 therms per unit or 21% of pre‐retrofit natural gas consumption. Compared to the initiative ex ante estimates, the billing analysis results represent an average statewide realization rate of 80%, indicating that the initiative is achieving 80% of the reported natural gas savings. The majority of projects that received natural gas efficiency measures to reduce heating consumption also received efficient lighting measures. Separating out the lighting interactive effects on the heating load should increase the realization rate to somewhere between 83% and 89%. The team estimated a statewide realization rate of 97% for common area lighting measures, verifying that auditors are accurately estimating annual energy savings. The team confirmed that all showerheads were below the 2.5 gallon‐per‐minute maximum threshold and most faucet aerators were below the 1.5‐gallon‐per‐minute threshold. The team estimated that 89% of facilities use window air‐conditioning as the primary cooling equipment. The team also provided deemed secondary impacts.
Residential Retrofit and Low Income Lighting & Heating Metering Study Status Memo
Synopsis: This memo describes results of a study of low income households in Massachusetts to assess lighting hours of use (HOU) and the prevalence of secondary heating to warm their homes. To gather data, technicians completed whole-home lighting inventories and installed up to 10 lighting loggers per home at 261 randomly sampled low income customer homes across the State. The technicians also installed meters that assess thermostat usage and monitored heating equipment.
Conclusion: Preliminary results suggest that average low income-specific HOU for medium screw-based bulbs is 2.66 (weighted by room and demographics). This is slightly less than the current program assumption of 2.8 hours/day. At the room level, the highest average annual HOU occur in room types with high levels of traffic such as kitchens, dining rooms, and living rooms. Low income seniors use their lights less (an average of 2.12 hours per day) than low income non-seniors (an average of 2.88 hours per). Approximately 34% of low income homes employ secondary heating. There appears to be less primary heating usage in homes with secondary heating option. Evaluators suggest that future evaluations should consider the impact of program measures on both primary and secondary heating.