Community Development Research Briefs

November 15, 2023

Recent Innovations in Reducing Home Energy Costs and Improving Resilience for Low- and Moderate-Income Renters and Homeowners


Download the full report (pdf, 1.15 mb)

Executive Summary

Community Development (CD) practitioners across the western U.S. are engaging in new efforts to reduce energy costs and improve resilience for low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities and other populations that face barriers to economic participation and household financial stability. Energy costs and resilience are factors in housing stability, which impacts economic participation. New federal and state funding sources, as well as growing involvement from philanthropy and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)-motivated investors, have prompted growth in energy cost savings and resilience (ECSR) options for LMI households. To help scale this work, CD practitioners are experimenting with partnerships—between workforce development providers and employers, mission-driven lenders and nonprofits, state government and utilities, retrofit companies and the public sector, state government and municipalities, to name a few. These partnerships have led to innovations in lending (for homeowners, renters, and landlords), technical implementation of retrofits, coordination across programs, consumer protection, workforce development, and technical assistance (TA) for CD practitioners. This brief provides descriptive findings from focus groups and interviews about ESCR-related work in the CD field and discusses takeaways for policy and practice.

This brief includes the following profiles of community development work on energy cost savings and resilience:

  • Mission-driven lenders in Arizona leverage partnerships to bring ECSR measures to LMI residents.
  • A state green bank uses on-bill repayment to bring energy savings to LMI residents in Hawaiʻi
  • A mission-driven company brings lending, technical expertise, and partnerships to ECSR retrofits in California.
  • A state program in Oregon helps bridge the gap between health and safety repair costs and federal weatherization funding.
  • A state public health agency helps accelerate capacity for local adaptation and resilience through a cross-jurisdictional learning community in Washington State.

The views expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco or the Federal Reserve System. The discussion of technologies and industry practices in this report does not represent an endorsement of any products or services.

Download PDF (pdf, 1.15 mb)

Article Citation

Mattiuzzi, Elizabeth, and Sarah Simms. 2023. “Recent Innovations in Reducing Home Energy Costs and Improving Resilience for Low- and Moderate-Income Renters and Homeowners.” Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Community Development Research Brief 2023-04. doi: 10.24148/cdrb2023-4.