Helping Low Income Communities Become Energy Efficient

by | Feb 28, 2017

CaliforniaThe energy industry has a complex relationship with low income communities.

In many cases, landlords are unable to increase rents beyond a certain percentage of tenants’ income. This encourages them to push energy efficiency and other savings to increase the profit on the properties. Often, the new and expanding world of solar energy offers vocational opportunities to people in these communities.

The Natural Resources Defense Council posted a blog today on a report released by the Energy Efficiency for All Coalition, of which it is a member.

The report focuses on California. It says that one-third of households in the state make $32,000 per year for a family of two; 54 percent of low income households use a primary language that is not English; 70 percent of low income residents are renters and one-third of renters spend more than half of their income on housing.

Access to the many clean energy programs in California is hindered, the post says, by fragmentation and delivery challenges, insecure and inadequate funding and inconsistent goals and data limitations.

The report offers five recommendations: better coordination across programs in different sectors (such as energy, water and transportation); encouragement of community solar; collaboration among program delivery agencies and cooperation with “trusted and qualified community-based organizations and local governments.”

California, which is considering a move to 100 percent renewable energy, is perhaps the leading state for efficiency. The Energy Collective maps out the state’s status in several charts. They focus on efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions in transportation; the progress it is making toward its energy goals; its renewable energy capacity and the amount of electricity that is being consumed in the state.

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