Water and Energy Saving Tips for Multi-Unit Residential Buildings
The following tips are based on the individual measures being compiled by CMHC for an Energy and Water Efficiency Guide for Multi-Unit Residential Buildings. The Tips highlight ways to save energy and water in apartment buildings along with the costs, benefits and precautions. With over 60 Tips in hand, CMHC will continue to develop these easy-to-reference factsheets for the benefit of property owners and managers in all regions across Canada.
- Are Dirty Vents a Fire Hazard?
Dirty vents can become a fire hazard.
- Seal Air Leakage Paths
Air seal vertical chases in buildings to prevent cold air from entering at the lower levels and warm air from escaping at the higher levels.
- Replace Electric Motors With High Efficiency Models
Replace failed electric drive motors for fans and pumps with high efficiency models.
- Indoor Swimming Pool Dehumidification
An indoor pool dehumidification system can reduce or eliminate the need to exhaust large quantities of warm indoor air.
- Fuel Conversion
Switch from a higher- to a lower-cost fuel for heating equipment. This conversion is often performed when replacing or upgrading existing equipment.
- Replace Gas-Fired Boilers with Higher Efficiency Models
At the end of their useful lifetimes, replace existing boilers with higher efficiency models.
- Install Setback Thermostats in Individual Suites
Replace in-suite thermostats with programmable electronic thermostats with setback capability.
- Seal and Insulate Warm Air Ducts in Unheated Spaces
Reduce energy costs by sealing and insulating warm air ducts in unheated spaces.
- Insulate Boiler and Heating Piping
Repair or add insulation to heating system piping and boilers in buildings with central hot water space heating and domestic hot water systems.
- Improve Air Flow Through Boiler Make-Up Air Grilles
Replace or service grilles that are inadequately sized and/or obstructed to provide the required combustion and dilution air for boilers.
- Balance Air Flows
Adjust corridor air supply or central exhaust systems to ensure air is circulated at rates sufficient to maintain good air quality.
- Install Time Switches on Local Exhaust Fans
Use 24-hour or 7-day automatic timers to turn off local exhaust fans at times when they are not required, rather than running them continuously.
- Reduce Garage Temperature to 5°C (40° F)
Lower the air temperature in heated parking garages during the heating season.
- Reduce Operating Period of Central Exhaust fans and Corridor Air Supply Fans
Install a timeclock control to shut down the operation of the central air supply and/or exhaust fans during periods where ventilation requirements are minimal.
- Calibrate Hot Water Reset Temperature Controller
In buildings with hot water space heating systems, calibrate the boiler's hot water reset temperature controller to ensure the system temperature is just hot enough to meet the building's space heating needs.
- Check and Maintain Boiler Efficiency
Test boiler combustion efficiency and perform required adjustments on a regular basis to ensure peak opaerating performance.
- Retrofitting High-Performance Windows
When original windows are beyond repair or are difficult to maintain, install double- or triple-glazed high-performance windows.
- Add Storm Windows to Single-Glazed Units
Install storm windows to existing single-glazed units as an alternative to complete window replacement.
- Upgrade Weatherstripping on Doors
Seal joints around doors in the building envelope.
- Upgrade Weatherstripping on Windows
Upgrade weatherstripping on windows for more effective sealing at operable joints.
- Seal Exterior Cracks
Caulk all cracks in the building envelope around doors, windows and other exterior joints, or other areas where air infiltrates in cold weather.
- Seal Air Leakage Paths in Outside Walls of Apartments
Use a foam or sealant to seal air leakage paths around electrical receptacles, window frames, floor junctions, and baseboard heaters on exterior walls.
- Insulate and Seal Air Conditioner Sleeves
Minimize air infiltration and reduce condensation by insulating air conditioner sleeves and sleeve joints.
- Insulate Floors Over Unheated Spaces
Insulate and air seal the underside of floors exposed to unheated spaces.
- Insulate Walls during Exterior Repairs and Renovations
Insulate and air seal walls and install an effective air barrier during exterior wall repair and/or refinishing activities.
- Insulate When Repairing Interior Walls
Insulate and air seal empty wall cavities as part of interior repair or refinishing work.
- Insulate Accessible Attic Space
Add insulation into the attic of buildings.
- Insulate When Replacing Roofing
Insulate or reinsulate roofs as part of roof membrane replacement.
- Install Electric Demand Controls
Install electric demand controls on large electrical loads to prevent their operation during periods of high electrical demand
- Add Thermostatic Controls to Block Heaters
Control timing of availability of power at block heater receptacles to reduce energy usage.
- Replace Incandescent Lamps in Exit Signs with LED Lamps
Reduce energy use by installing light emitting diode lamps in Exit signs.
- Reduce Common Area Incandescent Lighting
Reduce the number and/or wattage of incandescent lamps in common areas.
- Replace Outdoor Incandescent Lighting with HP Sodium Fixtures
Replace existing incandescent wall mounted/canopy mounted lighting fixtures and post-top luminaires with new, high pressure sodium fixtures.
- Timeclock and/or Photocell Control on Outdoor Lighting
Install a timeclock or photocell control to turn outdoor lights off during daylight hours.
- Replace Incandescent Lighting in Kitchens and Bathrooms with Fluorescent Lighting
Replace incandescent lighting in the kitchens and bathrooms of rental units with fluorescent lighting.
- Replace Existing Lighting Fixtures with High Efficiency Fluorescent Lamps, Ballasts and Fixtures
Replace existing incandescent or older technology fluorescent lamps, ballasts and fixtures with high efficiency fluorescent lamps and ballasts.
- Replace Indoor Incandescent Lamps with Compact Fluorescent Lamps
Replace indoor incandescent lamps in common areas with compact fluorescent lamps.
- Replace Defective Taps with "Washerless" Fixtures
Replace fixtures with washerless taps to eliminate part failure and leakage.
- DHW Tank and Pipe Insulation
Add insulation to DHW tanks and accessible distribution piping where absent or to existing insulation that is damaged
- Test and Improve Boiler Efficiency
Use flue gas analysis to test the combustion efficiency of boilers and storage heaters used for domestic water heating.
- Reduce Short Cycling
Adjust or modify controls so that each domestic hot water boiler fires in a set sequence. The lead boiler must be fully loaded before the next boiler fires.
- Recirculation Pump Shutdown
Install a timeclock to shut down the DHW recirculation pump during periods when there is little demand for hot water.
- Add Setback Feature to DHW Temperature Control
Reduce domestic hot water temperatures at night by adding a setback feature to the central temperature controller.
- Reduce DHW Temperature
Reduce the temperature of the DHW to the lowest safe level that will provide a satisfactory supply of hot water to all tenants.
- Repair Leaking Taps
Regularly maintain water supply taps that have replaceable washers to prevent leaks.
- Install Shower and Tap Flow Restrictions
Install low flow showerheads and faucets.
- Adjust DHW Pessure
Adjust the water pressure at the top floor so that it will not fall below 170 kPa (25 psi) during times of maximum demand, nor rise above 240 kPa (35 psi) during times of minimal demand.
- Modify Laundry Machine for Cold Rinse Only
Modify the washing machine control cycle to allow cold rinses only on all cycles.
- Upgrade Common Area Washing Machines
Replace existing top loading vertical axis (V-axis) washing machines in apartment laundry rooms with front loading horizontal axis (H-axis) units.
- Install Water Conserving Fixtures
Replace existing showerheads and kitchen and bathroom faucet aerators with low flow models.
- Replace Toilets with Ultra Low Flush (ULF) Models
Replace existing toilet fixtures with ultra low flush (ULF) 6 Litre/flush (L/f) models.
- Install Controls for Booster Pump Operation
Install controls to match booster pump operation with actual demand experienced in the building.