Affordable housing owners in seven states have the opportunity to better understand their properties’ energy usage through a benchmarking initiative by Elevate Energy and New Ecology.

The groups are looking for owners and managers of affordable housing multifamily properties with five or more units that serve households earning no more than 80% of the area median income in Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia. The owners and managers must have at least one year of past utility records.

The owners and managers will receive a free one-year subscription of WegoWise, an online tool that benchmarks energy and water usage. Elevate Energy, a Chicago-based nonprofit that runs and administers energy-efficiency programs, and New Ecology, a Boston-based nonprofit that promotes development solutions that deliver positive economic, environmental, and social returns, will then help owners and managers understand the data and figure out the next steps to take to lower their energy costs.

“It’s putting all their buildings in one place and understanding how their costs are changing between their buildings and over time,” says Louise Sharrow, project lead of the new markets initiative for nonprofit Elevate Energy. “Utility costs are certainly a large part of their operating costs. Understanding is the first step to making changes.”

Owners and managers have until March 31 to enroll in the program in Connecticut, Maryland, and Rhode Island and until the beginning of the third quarter of 2015 for Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. To enroll or get more information, email Sharrow at

“There’s a fair amount of money spent on commercial and industrial renovations,” says Daniel Teague, director of business development at WegoWise. “What this program is about is trying to solve a real hole in the affordable housing marketplace around retrofits.”