Community Development Innovation Review

March 2014
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Financing Energy Efficiency in Low-Income Multifamily Rental Housing: A Progress Update from the Low Income Investment Fund

Author(s):

Bringing energy efficiency to our nation’s building stock is an attractive triple bottom line proposition, and a critical one—for addressing global climate change, improving environmental quality and health, and delivering cost savings to owners and tenants. Although markets for retrofitting commercial properties and single family homes are developing, many low-income people are still waiting on the sidelines to partake in benefits. This trend is particularly worrisome because the least fortunate are more likely to live, attend school, and work in older, less energy-efficient buildings; as a result, low income households consume about one quarter more energy per square foot of living space than their higher-income counterparts, and a larger share of their paychecks are dedicated to utility costs. Poorer communities’ limited ability to pay for retrofits has caused energy efficiency markets designed for wealthier settings to bypass them. In this context, we at the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) interpret the considerable challenge of delivering energy efficiency to low-income families and low-wealth communities as crucial not only for environmental sustainability, but also for addressing social inequality.

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Other articles in this issue

Mixing Asset Building with Energy Efficiency: A Recipe for Financial and Environmental Sustainability

The Future of the Clean (Green) Economy

Cleaner Energy and Health: Household, Local and Global Benefits

Financing Energy Efficiency Retrofits of Affordable Multifamily Buildings

Manufactured Homes Help Both Save the Planet and Save Money for Low-Income Owners

Utilities and Community Developers Partner to Improve the Energy Efficiency of Affordable Rental Housing Nationwide

Integrating Energy Efficiency into Mortgage Financing: Promising Efforts in the New York City Multifamily Building Sector

Home Energy Efficiency and Mortgage Risks: An Extended Abstract

Charter Schools Ripe for Green Investments

Neighborhood Health: A New Framework for Investing in Sustainable Communities

Bringing Down Green Financing Costs: How a State-sponsored Bank Might be the Key

Understanding the True Benefits of both Energy Efficiency and Job Creation

Can Cities Lead the Way in Innovative Energy Retrofits for Single-Family Homes?

Lenders’ Property Standards and Energy Efficiency: The Vital Link for Affordable Housing

Energy to Heal: Health Care, Climate Change, and Community Resilience