Jul 6, 2020

Energy Code Field Studies: Low-Rise Multifamily Air Leakage Testing

Lauren Sweeney

This report is the result of the DOE project Low-Rise Multifamily Energy Code Study.


Over the last several years, state, regional, national code agencies, and other parties have trained their eye on energy efficiency codes. Rather than the just “checking the box” for prescriptive requirements, the renewed focus concerns the actual energy impacts of these codes on a whole-building basis. Further, if the effects of noncompliance can be estimated accurately, the overall impact of the code on expected new building performance could apply to all new buildings (commercial, multifamily residential, and single-family residential).

The subject of this study is low-rise multifamily buildings. That included buildings of predominantly residential occupancy that have no more than three stories above grade (Davis et al. 2020). The main portion of the study reviewed buildings’ thermal shell, mechanical systems, water heating, and lighting. Almost 100 buildings permitted between 2012 and 2015 were evaluated in four states (Illinois, Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington). Results are found in a companion report. The results are a good start to understanding the energy performance of this sector across the United States.  

This research is funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Related Links

Residential Building Energy Efficiency Field Studies (Final Report)
Energy Efficiency Field Studies (U.S. Department of Energy)
Low-Rise Multifamily Code Compliance Study Results (Webinar)