DERs as a new dimension to “Affordable” Housing
- Oct 23, 2020 9:49 pm GMT
This item is part of the Distributed Energy Resources - Fall 2020 SPECIAL ISSUE, click here for more
According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, the United States needs a minimum of 7.2 million more affordable housing units (and potentially as many as 12 million units). The Terner Center’s report Building Affordability by Building Affordably recognizes that off-site modular construction facilitates rapid production of an affordably built supply of housing, through faster construction timelines, improved workforce productivity, and cost savings. As the building industry rises up to meet this capacity goal leveraging the benefits from off-site modular construction, there is a need to address “long-term affordability” by including another key determinant i.e. household energy costs. These costs continue to place a major energy burden on tenants or homeowners. Compared to middle- and upper-income households that spend 5% or less of their total household income on energy purchases, low-income householders spend 10% or more of their income on energy expenses. “Low-income individuals typically are less likely to participate in clean distributed energy resources (DERs) due to critical barriers such as lack of access to capital, lower credit scores and lower rates of homeownership. Unless these gaps are addressed, the transition to clean energy resources could widen the energy burden gap between high- and low-income households…” as noted in the report Encouraging the Development of Distributed Energy Resources in Texas.
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