Many low-income individuals and families are finding it increasingly difficult to rent apartments (see here and here), but energy efficiency and solar energy can help save affordable multifamily housing.
Many cities have started benchmarking initiatives to reduce citywide energy consumption. This could be good news for people living in apartments and condominiums, because many are renters and low-income residents who would benefit from lower energy bills. Low-income families can struggle to find affordable and energy-efficient homes. The apartments they rent are often in need of repairs, have older appliances, and operate with less-efficient heating and cooling equipment, which partly explains their higher energy bills.
Today, one in six American households resides in the apartments or condominiums of multifamily buildings. While new multifamily buildings are being constructed across the country, most residents still live in older buildings that are not energy-efficient. ACEEE’s newly released report provides encouraging news for apartment and condo dwellers who want to reduce the cost of their energy bills. Utility-sector energy efficiency programs that serve these buildings have nearly tripled their spending in recent years.
In a recent report released by ACEEE and Energy Efficiency for All, Lifting the High Energy Burden in America’s Largest Cities, we measured energy burdens in 48 of the largest cities in the United States. Energy burden means the percentage of household income that goes toward energy costs, and we looked specifically at utility energy bills (transportation energy costs are also a significant household expense, but it was outside the scope of the analysis).
Multifamily buildings are home to millions of people across the US. In fact, multifamily buildings make up one quarter of the housing stock. These buildings range from duplexes with five or six units to high-rises with more than 50. Most properties are leased to residents, while others are owned by their occupants. Rental buildings can be owned by mom-and-pop landlords or companies that own and operate hundreds of buildings nationwide.
Air regulators, state energy officials, and the affordable housing community are working together. Here’s why.
EPA’s recently released Clean Power Plan (CPP) requires states to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants. How states meet their targets will vary, as they are able to choose from a variety of compliance approaches. Many states, however, are well positioned to incorporate energy efficiency into their compliance plans. It’s proven to be a least-cost strategy for utilities, and provides multiple benefits for the customers they serve.
This winter, ACEEE, in partnership with Energi Insurance Services, will host a second gathering of select members of the Small Lenders Energy Efficiency Community (SLEEC) in Washington, D.C. The initial SLEEC convening in October 2013 brought together small- to medium-size lenders to discuss strategies for expanding activity in the market for energy efficiency financing.
When ACEEE launched the Multifamily Energy Savings Project two years ago, we offered one of the first estimates of potential energy savings – $3.4 billion – for multifamily buildings, a traditionally underserved market. Since then, we continue to report on opportunities and challenges for achieving these savings.
This summer was a scorcher. Heat waves repeatedly struck the Midwest and South, sparing only sections of the Northeast. All of California is still in a drought. Cities were especially hot due to their concentration of buildings and human activity, a phenomenon called the urban heat island effect. At times, it may have felt impossible to beat the heat.