Low Income Renters Might Be Missing Out on Efficiency

Gita Subramony for Zondits, July 23, 2014

A recent University of Arizona study indicates that low-income tenants might be overspending on energy costs because their buildings lack efficiency improvements. Low-income housing developments typically lack amenities such as ENERGY STAR appliances, double-paned windows, and programmable thermostats, and they often have outdated and inefficient heating and cooling systems. Landlords often hesitate to take on the financial burden of these improvements, especially when tenants pay their own utility bills.

Many of these building owners, perhaps, aren’t aware of funding assistance options such as the HUD Multifamily Energy Innovation Fund or the Fannie Mae Green Refinance Plus program, which provide incentives for efficiency projects. The solution may lie in better promotion of these federal programs.


Renters spend less on housing but more on energy, study finds

Phys.Org, July 15, 2014

While low-income families often choose multifamily housing for its affordability, a new University of Arizona study finds they could be spending hundreds more in utility costs every year due to a lack of energy-efficient features in their buildings.

The study, published in the September 2014 issue of the journal Building Research & Information, reports that in 2009, multifamily units – apartments in buildings with five or more units – occupied by low-income renters had 4.7 fewer energy efficient features, such as double-paned windows and Energy Star appliances, compared with other households.

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