In new apartment buildings, energy-efficient windows and ample insulation aren’t just common practice—they are required by California’s building energy efficiency code. But throughout the Bay Area, there are still countless older buildings with their original single-pane windows and little or no insulation. Even in cities with mild climates like Menlo Park, outdated windows and poor insulation can drive up energy costs and may even drive away tenants.
Thanks to no-cost energy consulting and rebates offered by the Bay Area Multifamily Building Enhancements program, tenants of two Menlo Park apartment buildings that were built in more than 60 years ago are now enjoying the comfort and quiet that comes with high performance windows and better roof and attic insulation.
Ken Cox manages two Menlo Park apartment buildings that his mother has owned for about 20 years. In their eight-unit property on Mills Street, the old windows were drafty, heating bills were fairly high, and the second-floor units tended to overheat in the summer. And in their six-unit building on Waverley Street, the tenants had to put up with annoying street noise that filtered through the single-pane windows.
The upfront cost of window replacement can put it out of reach of some apartment building owners, even though it typically increases tenant satisfaction and can save energy over time. But with assistance from the Bay Area Multifamily Building Enhancements program, the Coxes were able to upgrade the windows at both properties, as well as insulate the roofs and attic cavities. They also insulated the hot water pipes at one of the buildings.
Cox is enthusiastic about their collaboration with the program’s energy consultants, the Association for Energy Affordability, noting that AEA staff came up with great ideas and were quick to respond and follow through. Now that the attic and roof are insulated, the upstairs tenants at Mills Street have noticed that their homes are cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, Cox said. And the Waverly Street tenants have told him that they really appreciate the new windows—their homes are quieter, more comfortable and look a lot better.
250 Waverley St. and 1311 Mills St., Menlo Park, CA
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