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Energy Equity

Energy Equity

Owners and residents of multifamily rental housing do not have as much access to the benefits of energy efficiency as owners and residents of other forms of housing. Affordable multifamily rental housing tends to have far fewer energy efficient attributes, such as efficient appliances or adequate insulation.[1]

The lack of energy efficient multifamily housing has consequences for low-income families and their communities. When families with limited financial means are saddled with high energy bills that they cannot afford, they face the prospect of losing their utility services or, worse, being evicted from their homes. To the extent that high energy costs drive up building operating expenses, building owners have limited means to invest in their properties while keeping rents affordable, threatening the continued availability of good quality affordable housing. 

Our Priorities for Energy Equity 

Residents and owners of affordable multifamily buildings should have equitable access to the resources and help they need to improve the efficiency of their homes. The benefits of energy efficiency should not be exclusively available to higher income families and businesses. 

  1.  Ensure that multifamily affordable buildings get a share of resources that is proportionate to the size of the sector in the local market.    Energy efficiency program funders and managers should take the lead to ensure resource equity. 
  2. Tailor efficiency programs to meet the specific challenges of making multifamily affordable homes more energy efficient. Please see the Program Design and Budgets page.

[1] Gary Pivo, Unequal access to energy efficiency in US multifamily rental housing: opportunities to improve (Building Research and Information, 2014), 42:5, pp. 551-573.


EEFA National Factsheet

Increasing the energy efficiency of rental housing saves energy, improves residents’ health and comfort, and maintains reasonable rents. This helps families, communities, and affordable building owners. 


Progress has been made toward increasing the energy efficiency of Pennsylvania’s multifamily housing, but opportunities for significant additional energy savings are being missed.


Affordable rental housing is critical for New Yorkers, but many apartments are in need of repair and come with high energy bills.