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Housing Expert Forum: Energy Efficiency

Welcome to the BPC Housing Commission expert forum! This forum is intended to foster interactive and substantive discussion about pressing housing issues. Each month contributors from different parts of the housing sector will be invited to respond to a discussion topic.

Guest posts are shared regularly with Housing Commissioners to help inform their work.

Have a pressing question you’d like us to consider? Please leave it in the comments section. We encourage you and our expert bloggers to add comments, contributing to the national dialogue on solutions for the future of the housing sector.

Expert bloggers are not members of the BPC Housing Commission. Any views expressed on this forum do not necessarily represent the views of the Housing Commission, its Co-Chairs, or the Bipartisan Policy Center.

QUESTION: What are the most promising opportunities to promote greater residential energy efficiency? Is there a role for the federal government?

Eliminate Split and Perverse Incentives
By David A. Smith

To boost greater residential energy efficiency, eliminate perverse incentives and split incentives. Leave aside homeownership, where a cornucopia of programs Federal, state, and utility is available for retrofits of all kinds. The real wins are in affordable multifamily.

Read the full post here.

Reducing Energy Costs Offers Potential to Reduce Financial Burdens for All Families
By Mark Calabria

The average household spends over $3,600 annually on utilities, fuels and other public services, including telephone service, amounting to just over 7 percent of all annual expenditures (see BLS’ consumer expenditure survey). Not surprisingly these costs are higher for homeowners than renters. While these costs do increase with income, for instance electricity expenditures are twice as high for the top quintile of earners as for the bottom, their burden as a percent of income falls with income. Reducing energy costs offers some potential for reducing cost burdens for all families.

Read the full post here.

Energy Efficiency is a Central Tenet of Responsible Asset Management
By Amy Anthony

The development and preservation of affordable, multifamily housing provides a promising opportunity to promote greater residential energy efficiency. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that single-family households use twice as much energy as those in buildings with five or more housing units. As a developer and owner of affordable multifamily properties, POAH recognizes that while our multifamily buildings have a head start on single-family homes when it comes to energy use, we must also actively pursue energy and water conservation across our portfolio.

Read the full post here.

When All Sectors Work Together, Everybody Wins
By Jonathan T.M. Reckford

The short answer is yes. The federal government plays a critical role in developing plans for residential energy efficiency. The longer response would be to suggest how competitive grants can improve the physical and financial health of families across the country, promote technological innovations, and create jobs, while not overburdening the federal budget.

Read the full post here.

Improvements in Energy Efficiency Pay for Themselves
By Sunia Zaterman

One of the most promising ways to reduce residential energy use is to make the nation’s public housing stock more energy efficient. Fortunately, housing authorities already have made great progress towards this goal. Housing authorities completed green retrofits for nearly 120,000 units during 2010 and 2011, making about 10 percent of the nation’s public housing stock more sustainable as well as reducing utility and water costs for residents and government.

Read the full post here.

Gains in Energy Efficiency Would Have Immediate Impact
By Rick Samson

Five years ago, we at Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) launched SAHF Energy in recognition of the fact that energy and water bills were often the single largest controllable operating cost faced by affordable multifamily property owners, while gains in efficiency would have a direct and immediate impact on SAHF’s core mission, the preservation of this precious housing resource. Since that time we, have generated a number of member focused demonstrations to identify obstacles to greater efficiency and potential solutions.

Read the full post here.

State and Federal Efforts Working Together to Improve Energy Efficiency Investment
By Todd Nedwick

There is growing awareness about the role of energy efficiency investments in fighting poverty. Reducing energy consumption in low-income housing not only lowers utility bills, but helps extend the life of the property by freeing up capital that can be used to address maintenance repair needs or make necessary improvements. Energy efficiency investments also create healthier living environments, which can lower the incidence of asthma, and other ailments that keep children home from school or adults from their jobs.

Read the full post here.

Past Forums

December 2013: What opportunities and challenges will immigration reform pose for future housing demand, housing markets, and/or economic revitalization?

October 2013: This month marks the 27th anniversary of the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. Throughout the program’s tenure, what lessons have we learned? What key components continue to make it a successful program?

July 2013: Who are unconventional stakeholders who can help rally support for housing?

May 2013: What should the federal government’s role be in helping prepare consumers to make financial decisions?

April 2013: Which of the recommendations in the BPC Housing Commission’s report should receive highest priority?

November 2012: What have we learned from past disaster recovery efforts that could be applied in the way of housing assistance following Hurricane Sandy?

October 2012: What should be the interaction (if any) between state and local policies that impact housing availability and affordability?

September 2012: What statement(s) related to housing?policy, or otherwise?would you want to hear in the presidential debates?

August 2012: What is the role of housing education and counseling in the future housing economy and finance system?

July 2012: Do alternative forms of homeownership, such as shared equity models and rent-to-own programs, present viable alternatives for future homeownership?

June 2012: What are the best options for the millions of single-family homes that may be left behind by Baby Boomers as they age, many of which are in suburban or exurban communities?

May 2012: What can we learn from current or previous efforts to link evidence-based outcomes to policy or program development?

April 2012: What lessons can the U.S. learn from housing programs, policies, or regulatory frameworks in other countries?

March 2012: How can housing policy be responsive to today’s urgent needs and simultaneously address long-term trends?

February 2012: What are some of the key characteristics of a healthy housing system? And how can the success of these features be measured?

January 2012: What should the federal government do to address the inventory of foreclosed properties?

December 2011: What are the most pressing issues in housing policy today?

2014-02-04 00:00:00

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