National CORE

Major California non-profit developer relies on WegoWise to use resources efficiently, identify savings opportunities, and help meet state-mandated water reduction goals.

National Community Renaissance and Hope Through Housing Foundation

(National CORE) believes in transforming lives and communities through more affordable, higher-quality housing for families and seniors. This mission drives all aspects of its work, from development to construction to property management. With more than 10,000 units and 27,000 residents – primarily in California, but also Texas, Arkansas, and Florida – National CORE’s portfolio of properties includes multi-family developments for low-income families, seniors, and residents with special needs.

The National CORE team tenaciously explores new ways to reduce all utility use as part of their ongoing commitment to the environment and efficiency. However, drought conditions in California and a state-mandated water reduction focused new attention on reducing water use. California’s 25% water reduction target poses special challenges for multifamily properties, as explored in a recent WegoWise study. This study concluded that savings of that magnitude are within reach for multifamily properties, but only those that commit to tackling significant conservation projects are seeing dramatic savings. National CORE is taking proactive steps toward meeting the state’s target, ensuring that its properties use less water – as well as less electricity and gas.

Partnering with WegoWise to reduce water use

In 2015, National CORE turned to WegoWise to benchmark water use at 6 multifamily properties – and identify opportunities for real improvements. “We are very concerned about water conservation,” says Cliff Sherwood, who directs capital improvements at National CORE. “Across our large portfolio, we want to understand how we’re using resources – and take advantage of every opportunity to reduce water use and costs. Behind it all, the current California state water conservation mandate makes our efforts even more meaningful to the communities we serve.”

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By consolidating and analyzing utility data from a wide set of disparate sources, WegoWise gives National CORE a clear vision of how its properties are currently using water, electricity, and gas – so the team can set priorities. WegoWise provides performance benchmarks vs. peers, identifies opportunities for improvement, and quantifies the impact of National CORE’s retrofit projects. “We turned to WegoWise to help us answer questions and analyze our efforts,” says Robert Noeth, National CORE’s energy and sustainability analyst. “We definitely see value in the insights that WegoWise provides – huge value. Better information helps us make better decisions, and WegoWise helps us navigate and interpret this data.”

Better information helps us make better decisions, and WegoWise helps us navigate and interpret this data.
- Robert Noeth, energy and sustainability analyst, National CORE

The Results: New insights and impressive reductions

Right from the start, Premium reports prepared by WegoWise identified significant, actionable issues. “Based on information in our first month of reports, the Spike Report flagged a water line break, a billing error by our water company, and a property using significantly more water than its peers – all important insights,” says Noeth. “Now we can take that information to the building level and make changes.”

The water line break was wasting water, costing National CORE hundreds of dollars monthly. The billing error was significant, totaling more than $2700 in spring and summer. And the property that performed poorly when benchmarked alongside its peers was remedied through landscape watering modifications. These findings and more have enabled National CORE to take immediate action to start reducing use – and saving money.

WegoWise helps National CORE:

  • Establish Priorities. Data from WegoWise helps Sherwood and Noeth triage a long list of potential retrofit projects. In short, it helps them choose their battles based on the highest potential return.
  • Get the Big Picture. “We had no idea how our buildings’ utility use compared to similar properties until we got our first Building Opportunity Report from WegoWise,” says Sherwood. With a full array of WegoWise Premium reports, National CORE gains a broader view of how much water, electricity, and gas are being used, so it can see how its buildings measure up.
  • Educate Personnel. “We’re using WegoWise data to educate our on-site staff so they’re aware of every drop of water used on our properties,” says Sherwood. “We’re working proactively to meet the state water reduction goals. And to do that, we need to ensure that building-level personnel can identify under-performing buildings, water leaks, and any source of waste.”
  • Reduce All Use. While National CORE’s initial focus is on water consumption, WegoWise data enables its team to see all utility use. “It’s a full-spectrum effort – water, gas, and electricity,” says Sherwood. “WegoWise helps us identify all opportunities, then use Measurement & Verification reporting to determine whether the investments and changes we’re making are paying off.” From LED lighting retrofits to low-flow toilets and showerheads to landscaping changes, National CORE is exploring all avenues to reduce use of key resources.

What’s Next?

Based on the initial results at its selected properties, National CORE is already planning to expand its use of WegoWise to include monitoring all of its 77 properties. Early results are impressive: Sherwood and Noeth recognize that even small savings in monthly water, gas, and electricity use add up over time – particularly since National CORE’s portfolio of properties is so extensive. And they see National CORE’s water conservation efforts as central to meeting its overall goal – helping people and communities.

By the Numbers
91 Participating Buildings
1,350+ Number of units monitored
75+ Retrofit projects in progress
19% Water usage reduction
52% Highest property-specific water reduction
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