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In Focus

July 2010 - Improve Residential Energy Efficiency

In the Toolbox

This issue of In Focus highlights approaches being taken and resources available to help improve energy-efficiency in the residential sector. Improving the energy-efficiency of residential buildings—which account for an estimated twenty percent of the nation's energy consumption-- helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as to lower utility costs for homeowners and tenants, multifamily property owners, and managers.

The Center for Housing Policy, with support from Wells Fargo, developed a new online toolkit with a special focus on tools targeted to improving the energy-efficiency of existing homes occupied by low- and moderate- income households. The policies covered in the toolkit represent a broad spectrum of components that can be integrated into a comprehensive energy-efficiency program to help mitigate environmental impacts, reduce utility costs, and improve home comfort.

Explore the Toolkit

"Out Loud" Podcast

This month's Out Loud Podcast features an interview Casius Pealer, Director of the U.S. Green Building Council Affordable Housing Initiative. Rebecca Cohen, senior research associate at the Center for Housing Policy, talks to Pealer about ways to bridge the gap at the state and local levels between the housing world and other players in the energy-efficiency industry.

Listen to the Podcast

Solutions in Action

One of the first steps to improving home energy-efficiency is to complete an energy audit, which is a review of all aspects of an existing building's energy performance. Audits are conducted in order to assess current levels of energy consumption and identify opportunities to improve efficiency, save money on utilities, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Energy Savers program, run by the nonprofit CNT Energy, performs free energy audits for affordable multifamily properties in the Chicago area. CNT Energy also works with multifamily rental property owners to provide guidance on assembling the necessary financing to implement energy retrofits and improvements, and monitors building performance post-retrofit. Click here to access a webinar recording from June 27, 2010 featuring CNT Energy.

Learn More about this Solution in Action

Share Your Story

What are some strategies to convince homeowners or landlords of the advantages to making energy efficient retrofits of their homes? In light of funding being made available for energy efficiency through the Federal Recovery Act, the issue is all the more timely. Are you proposing any legislation for the 2010 legislative session in your state that might make borrowing money for energy efficiency retrofitting more attractive to home owners?

Join our new discussion group, Energy Efficiency, on the Forum to respond to this question or add your own! Share your experiences with fellow housing practitioners across the country.

Visit the Forum to Share Your Story


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Register for upcoming Partners in Innovation Events on Housing and Transportation

NHC and the Center invite you to join us in Denver this September for two policy events exploring the intersection of housing and transportation-- another area where well-designed policies can substantially reduce household energy use and costs. Including Affordable and Workforce Housing within Transit-Oriented Development is a day-long national symposium on September 27, will examine the challenges and opportunities for developing and sustaining Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) that include housing opportunities affordable to working families and families with low- and moderate-incomes. On September 28 join us for Preserving Affordable Rental Housing Near Transit a policy forum designed to examine the connection between preserving affordable rental housing near transit.

Register for Partners in Innovation

Featured Gallery Entry:

Cottages at Mattituck, Southold, NY

Photo Courtesy of Community Development Corporation of Long Island


April 2010 -
In Focus: Housing Solutions Week Recap
December 2009 - In Focus: Coordinated Housing and Transportation Policies
September 2009 -
In Focus: Shared Equity Homeownership and Asset Building
July 2009 -
In Focus: Post-Conference Edition
April 2009 - In Focus: Learning Conference
March 2009- In Focus: Neighborhood Stabilization
December 2008- In Focus: Neighborhood Stabilization
November 2008-- In Focus: Neighborhood Stabilization
October 2008-- In Focus: Transit-Oriented Development
September 2008-- In Focus: Inclusionary Zoning
August 2008 -- In Focus: Rental Housing Preservation
July 2008-- In Focus: Shared Equity Homeownership
June 2008 -- In Focus: Green Affordable Housing -- This issue of In Focus kicked off a series of Six Housing Policies for a World of High Energy Costs
May 2008 -- In Focus: Foreclosure Prevention
April 2008 -- In Focus: Employer-Assisted Housing
February 2008
-- was launched in January 2008 as part of Housing Solutions Week. Click here to view materials from the week.