More Home Efficiency Upgrades Bring Ameren Missouri’s Donation to Nearly $1.2 Million

More than 500 families rent homes and apartments from Beyond Housing. Meeting their need for adequate, affordable housing represents the tip of the iceberg in terms of the holistic services we provide—our model also covers employment, education, health, transportation, and personal finance.

But at the end of the day, all those other services would lose impact if people came home from school or work to find that their heat or air conditioning was out or that their electric and gas bills kept breaking the budget.

As a landlord, we embrace our responsibility to provide a safe, efficient physical environment for the residents in our rental units. Our top-notch maintenance team works directly with a network of community partners for repairs and upgrades across our portfolio of homes.

When the pandemic forced Ameren Missouri to stop the usual residential energy efficiency programs that often include in-home assessments, they partnered with Beyond Housing to come up with an impactful solution that reduces the energy burden on customers who struggle with financial security. “Ameren Missouri is really excited to work with Beyond Housing because they’ve been doing terrific work in North St. Louis County,” said Ameren Missouri CEO Marty Lyons. “We had a great opportunity to help families with energy audits, energy efficiency devices, and many other ways.”

Ameren Missouri donated more than $1.1 million of in-kind energy-efficient equipment repairs and upgrades, the largest in-kind donation Beyond Housing has ever received. “As an owner of rental properties, Beyond Housing would not have been able to achieve this scope of capital improvements in its housing stock without this partnership,” said Chris Krehmeyer, President and CEO of Beyond Housing.

These upgrades help families’ overall well-being by lowering their utility bills and by providing a healthier and more sound living space—something that isn’t always prioritized when it comes to affordable housing. This holistic approach is very important to Beyond Housing,” Krehmeyer added. 

For Raven Taylor, who lives in a rental home in North St. Louis County, this program has been a blessing. Ameren’s contractors performed services including an energy audit, replaced her thermostat with a “smart thermostat” system she can operate and optimize from her phone, and replaced all the lightbulbs.

“My favorite thing they did would be the lightbulbs, the energy-efficient lightbulbs,” Taylor said. “I honestly don’t think I’ve changed a lightbulb yet.” And her combined monthly electricity and air conditioning bills have remained below $200 each month since the upgrades. Read more about her experience with the program in this news story from the St. Louis American.

Partnering with Ameren Missouri and other companies

In 2020, Beyond Housing connected with Ameren Missouri’s CommunitySavers® Programs, in partnership with Spire Inc., for more than $600,000 in upgrades to heating and air conditioning systems. Environmental consulting company Resource Innovations, a diverse contractor, implemented the program. This work resulted in annual energy savings of 654,079 kilowatt hours.

The partners have built on that success this year, adding 166,857 kilowatt hours of savings with upgrades to 216 homes. Through August, Ameren Missouri’s donation of in-kind materials, labor hours, and other expenses totaled $479,693.

Summary of Ameren donations
  Amount of incentive Annual energy savings
2020 $615,012.92 654,079 kWh
2021 $479,693.45 166,857 kWh
Total $1,094,706.37 820,936 kWh

Every home received an assessment valued at $130. Based on the results of the assessment, work by Anton’s Air Conditioning and Heating ranged from $200 for upgrades like aerators, lighting, smoke detectors, and furnace cleaning to more than $8,000 for major improvements such as air conditioning units, furnaces, and electronically commutated motor (ECM) fans, which can achieve higher efficiency in air-flow systems.

Next steps in energy efficiency

In 2022, Beyond Housing and Ameren Missouri will kick off a third phase to provide air sealing and insulation for 138 homes where the need for additional energy efficiency improvements was identified during the assessment process.

By decreasing the amount of indoor air flowing out of the homes and increasing the effectiveness of the insulation, this work will save our renters money on their energy bills—and make the homes more comfortable and durable.

We agree with Beyond Housing that our region is only as successful as all of its communities, which includes our most vulnerable communities,” Lyons said. “That’s why we’re proud to partner with Beyond Housing to help families feel safer and healthier while also saving money.”

Staff from Ameren Missouri and Beyond Housing—as well as other partner companies—will continue to coordinate closely to provide these air sealing and insulation upgrades in an integrated manner, helping strengthen individual families and create meaningful and lasting change.

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