Policy report

Building better energy efficiency programs for low-income households

10 Mar 2016

Low-income energy efficiency programs are an important component of ratepayer-funded efficiency portfolios throughout the country, but there is room for improvement and expansion. In this report the authors address the challenges and opportunities of low-income programs that target single-family homes. This report includes a survey of the low-income program landscape and advice on scaling up energy efficiency in this sector. Finally, this report details practices that program administrators are using to overcome challenges, and the authors explore strategies to incorporate underutilized technologies and measures into programs to realize greater savings.
Energy efficiency programs can provide critical assistance to households that struggle to keep up with the cost of energy, which for them accounts for a higher percentage of household income than the average for all households. Programs can provide greater support to low-income households through energy and cost savings as well as a variety of associated health, safety, and quality of life benefits. Key strategies include integrating low-income energy efficiency into CPP compliance plans, increasing savings through smart partnerships with local organizations serving the target population, and increasing product efficiency in low-income households.

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