Building a Multifamily Home Performance Program

May/June 2011
A version of this article appears in the May/June 2011 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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May 01, 2011
More money than ever before is being invested in residential whole-building retrofit programs, but these funds are largely geared toward single-family homeowners. Can we continue to ignore the roughly one-third of us who live in apartments?
More money than ever before is being funneled into residential whole-building retrofit programs in California, thanks to state initiatives and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus funding. These initial investments are largely geared toward single-family homeowners, with multifamily units an afterthought. Renters make up 42% of California households, and about one-third of Californians live in apartments. Additionally, most low-income families live in multifamily dwellings. Often low-income families cannot afford to purchase a home, and as renters they lack the authority to invest in energy efficiency. So focusing on single-family homeowners leaves a large segment of the population underserved by whole-building programs.

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