Sustainable Affordable Housing: Saving Energy, Saving Lives - Wholesome Life Journal

Sustainable Affordable Housing: Saving Energy, Saving Lives


environmental-and-energy-study-instituteThe Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) held a briefing about energy efficient, “green” affordable housing and how it is improving health and safety in distressed communities while providing economic and environmental benefits to states. This was the second in a series of EESI briefings examining environmental justice as it relates to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), the nation’s first-ever regulation limiting carbon pollution from power plants. This briefing showed how sustainable affordable housing can save money for low-income families and strengthen community resilience while serving as a CPP compliance strategy.

Speakers showcased sustainable affordable housing developments in Pittsburgh, PA, as well as a retrofit in Washington, DC, and discussed the national movement to “green” affordable housing. Pittsburgh-based affordable housing developer ACTION-Housing has partnered with Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) to introduce “passive building” standards into its projects and reduce energy usage by 80-90 percent over conventional construction. The briefing also featured the passive building retrofit of Weinberg Commons, a multifamily housing complex for low-income families in Southeast DC. The nation’s capital uses Enterprise Community Partners’ Green Communities Criteria as the baseline green building standard for its public and publicly-financed projects.

States are being encouraged by EPA’s Clean Power Plan to reduce energy demand as a way to cut carbon pollution. Though the Plan’s implementation has been temporarily suspended by the Supreme Court, at least 22 states have voluntarily decided to press ahead. The CPP rewards states that implement energy efficiency projects in low-income communities through the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP). Building sustainable, resilient and affordable housing and retrofitting existing housing to be more energy efficient, safe and healthful can therefore be key strategies for Clean Power Plan compliance—while also making communities more resilient to extreme weather, economic downturns and other hardships. (Read More)

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