Program helps limited-income tenants be more energy-efficient, save money
For 57-year-old Bruce Clinton, a disabled civil maintenance engineer who lives with and cares for his younger, special-needs brother, it was a curious yet heartwarming sight.
No one had ever come into their two-bedroom apartment before to help make the modest home more energy efficient. Yet on this day, courtesy of SRP, a staff member from the apartment complex zipped around swapping out old light bulbs and replacing them with brighter, more energy-efficient bulbs. First, in the bathrooms. Next, the kitchen. And, finally, his ceiling fans and front porch too. Bruce noticed the difference. He felt it in his heart as well.
“It was great. They even gave me some brochures to read about how to be more energy efficient,” he said. “They put in low-flow showerheads, too, which are way nicer than the ones that were on there. It was real nice.”
The changes were a result of SRP’s Multifamily Energy Efficiency Program, to help limited-income families who rent and have historically been underserved by energy-efficiency efforts.
“We are working with limited-income multifamily communities throughout the Valley in SRP territory to help them become more energy efficient,” said Dan Dreiling, Director of Market Research & Customer Programs. “This program focuses on retrofitting existing buildings with simple energy- and water-saving measures for their type of home. Regardless of the size of the home, energy-efficient improvements can be done.”
Bruce and his 53-year-old brother, Byron, live at San Fernando Apartments in Mesa, which is an affordable housing complex with a limited-income housing tax credit. Bruce is on disability and supports his brother. Apartment Manager Jaimee Borowiak said she felt honored to participate in a program that helps so many in need, from single moms and dads to veterans and young families starting out.
“I’ve been working as an apartment manager for 28 years, and you couldn’t devise a better program for this demographic and the situations they have,” Borowiak said.
Through the program, SRP will retrofit about 4,000 apartments with energy-efficient CFLs and water-efficient faucet aerators and showerheads. In total, each year, those customers are expected to save enough water and energy to power more than 2,800 refrigerators and fill more than 350 residential swimming pools.
SRP invites multifamily complexes to participate in the program based on suitability. At San Fernando Apartments, 264 renters participated.
Borowiak said the complex pays the water, sewer and trash bill for its tenants, and since the upgrades, the water bill has decreased by 20 percent. There have been other lasting impacts as well, such as on the Clintons.
“That’s the first time that’s happened to me, that people come into my home and do a project like that,” Bruce said. “It made me feel real good, real nice, because they care and want to help you save energy. It also made me think twice about the water I was using. And that’s a good thing.”
(In above photo: Brothers Bruce (left) and Byron Clinton, with their apartment manager, Jaimee Borowiak).