Hays says energy efficiency critical in affordable housing
Energy efficiency is particularly critical in affordable housing developments, says Jeremy Hays, Chief Strategist for State and Local Initiatives at Green For All, a sustainability advocacy group with offices in Oakland and Washington, D.C. According to Hays, apartment buildings built before 1970 use 55 percent more energy than those built after 1990, while low-income residents spend 400 percent more of their monthly income on utility bills than the average American. Furthermore, affordable housing owners—a segment which includes public housing agencies and non-profit real estate developers—are constrained by rising utility bills; energy consumption in the US has steadily increased nearly every year since 1985, a trend which shows no signs of reversing.
As utility bills continue to rise, “we’ll continue to lose affordable housing,” Hays says, unless the amount spent on utilities can be reduced. “Every time you reduce your energy bill, you build in some safety for yourself around increased cost,” he notes.