November 2023 Policy Blog

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Kristen Cheriegate  |  ICAST Policy Analyst

White House Takes Action to Create More Affordable Housing
The Biden-Harris Administration has released a fact sheet that highlights new actions to support the conversion of high-vacancy commercial buildings to residential use, including through new financing, technical assistance, and the sale of federal properties – creating much-needed affordable housing, energy-efficient, near transit, and good jobs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, nearly 30 percent of which comes from the building sector. The fact sheet incorporates a multi-sector approach, including deeper work with States, Localities, and the private sector, leveraging federal funding to encourage conversions and sparking investment through new federal funding and repurposing of property.

U.S. Dept. of Energy Finalizes Energy Efficiency Standards
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently finalized Congressionally mandated energy efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that will slash household utility costs by $1.5 billion annually, significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and cumulatively save consumers $24.8 billion on their energy bills over 30 years. These standards, which take effect in late 2028, require non-weatherized gas furnaces and those used in mobile homes to achieve an annual fuel utilization efficiency of 95 percent, conserving energy and improving residential heating.

U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development Announces Over $100M for Low-Income Households
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it is awarding $103.4 million in new loans and grants to significantly renovate the homes of 1,500 low-income households to be zero energy and resilient at 16 HUD-Assisted Multifamily Housing properties. These awards are being made under the Green and Resilient Retrofit Program as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. The funding will ensure historically underserved communities are structurally modernized to increase resilience and energy efficiency.

Environmental Protection Agency Launches New Data Tool for Multifamily and Commercial Buildings
On October 25, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the launch of a web-based tool that enables users to explore aggregate energy use data from more than 150,000 commercial and multifamily buildings in the United States. The new Data Explorer tool will help building managers unlock potential savings based on the data from ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®.

California Set to Vote on Virtual Net Energy Metering Program
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will soon be voting on a proposed decision that is expected to harm rooftop solar’s value for renters in multifamily housing, farms, and schools – which make up nearly 2 million solar rooftops in the State. The decision would disallow residents of multi-meter properties to consume their own rooftop solar production, even if they own the solar array, by forcing customers to sell their solar production to the utility and repurchase it at higher rates. The vote has been pushed to November 2, 2023.

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