To Solve the Climate Crisis, We Must Solve the Housing Crisis

“The relationship between housing and transportation emissions is not complicated…By making housing shockingly expensive near jobs and transit, cities force low-income and working-class people to live far away from where they work…People who are priced out move further away, resulting in sprawl that covers up farmland and open space, clogs freeways, and increases greenhouse gas emissions.  Across most of California’s economy, greenhouse gas emissions have been trending steadily down. But ballooning car traffic on city streets and freeways is negating much of that progress. In California, about 40% of greenhouse gas emissions are from transportation, and they are increasing. In some California counties, two-thirds of emissions are from vehicles.  Cities across the U.S. face issues similar to those in California, too many of which have largely closed the doors to new residents — only to force them into similar patterns of crushing commutes and worsening pollution.”  (Kammen & Wiener, 2019).


There Are Vast Amounts of Energy Efficiency Potential in the Nation’s Affordable Housing Stock

“Electric and gas utilities in the U.S. invest billions of dollars annually to help their customers become more energy efficient, often by making repairs and improvements to customers’ homes and buildings. These investments are smart—they improve lives by reducing energy expenses, create healthier, more comfortable houses and offices, and improve community building stock.  The resulting energy efficiency produces a better utility system with less pollution, creates local jobs, and delivers other public benefits.  Yet studies show vast amounts of cost-effective efficiency potential available in our nation’s affordable housing, in multifamily affordable housing in particular. In other words, a lot of the energy delivered to affordable housing is wasted—it simply goes out the windows or up the chimney.  This is an alarming outcome because residents of affordable housing can least afford to waste valuable energy—savings from efficiency could materially improve their household budgets, and efficiency repairs such as improving ventilation systems can produce significant health benefits.”  Quoted from Energy Efficiency For All

“Low-income families spend up to 20 percent of their income on energy. Efficiency investments in multifamily affordable housing mean energy savings, lower energy bills, more stable rental payments, reduced pollution, and a better quality of life for residents.” Quoted from Energy Efficiency For All

“Existing multi-family affordable housing buildings are a vast source of efficiency potential for utilities. Several studies estimate cost effective efficiency gains of 20 to 30 percent are available.”  Quoted from Energy Efficiency For All. 

“A 2010 study funded by the Energy Foundation found 29% energy savings from cost-effective measures in a sample of apartments made up of roughly 7.2 million apartments, which included a large sample of HUD-assisted apartments, projects financed by low income housing tax credits (LIHTC), and a portfolio of projects owned by real estate investment trusts (REITs).” Quoted from Energy Efficiency For All.