Study: Low-income Homes Should be Energy Efficient

A study by Enterprise Community Partners calls for a national commitment to rehabilitate and retrofit low-income housing with energy-efficient features that will offer substantial financial savings for the residents and ensure long-term gains in environmental and energy sustainability.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) currently spends more than $4 billion each year to pay utilities in government-assisted properties; yet, the funds only cover a fraction of the families and individuals in need of financial help. In contrast, with an investment of $5 billion annually during a 10-year span to rehabilitate low-income homes, considerable gains can be made in energy savings, carbon reduction, and cost savings to renters and homeowners.

"A national commitment to bring home the benefits of energy efficiency to low-income families in their homes would save families money, cut carbon emissions, and create hundreds of thousands of good green jobs, " said Stockton Williams, senior vice president and chief strategy officer of Enterprise Community Partners. "A relatively modest federal investment would generate major progress right away."

The report, Bringing Home the Benefits of Energy Efficiency to Low-Income Households: A Case for a National Commitment, recommends a comprehensive, 10-point plan that would, among other aspects, be able to:

• build capacity to implement low-cost improvements,

• ensure climate change legislation supports low-income home energy efficiency,

• green the revitalization of distressed public housing communities, and

• improve and expand federal tax credits for residential energy efficiency and solar power.

These recommendations would engage public-private partnerships to help overcome the market barrier of financing the cost of improvements. The points also offer suggestions for federal support to incorporate private capital investment such as credit enhancements and tax incentives as structures to diversify direct governmental spending.

To view the report, visit www.enterprisecommunity.org.

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