The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) collaborated with the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) and Upright Consulting Services, a racial equity, economic inclusion, and sustainability consultancy, to lead a virtual rental housing energy efficiency learning group for local governments from across the country. The group was driven by a recognition that reducing the energy use of rental properties is critical to reducing urban greenhouse gas emissions. The share of U.S. households living in rental homes has grown in recent years, and these properties are 15% less energy efficient on average than owner-occupied homes.1
The learning group was also driven by a desire to improve rental property efficiency while also furthering race and social equity for low-income renters and renters of color, such as by improving the affordability of both housing and energy. Using frameworks developed by climate and housing justice advocates, learning group members discussed policies and programs that hold the potential to reduce renters’ energy use while preserving or expanding their access to fair, affordable, healthy, and safe housing. This report reflects the conclusions of these discussions, information exchanged between members, and the findings of ACEEE’s complementary independent research. The following report has been structured as a guide for local governments, laying out important information, resources, and actions that they can use to equitably improve the efficiency of their rental housing.