5 Key Takeaways for Making Building Decarbonization Work in Affordable Housing

Decarb Summit Report 2021 coverThe California Housing Partnership hosted a five-part Affordable Housing Building Decarbonization Summit in late 2020 to understand the opportunities and challenges of building decarbonization policies and programs across California that impact multifamily affordable housing. 
This report, an outcome of the Summit, offers vital insights to inform the state’s building decarbonization policies and ensure equitable outcomes for affordable housing providers and their residents. The following are key policy recommendations: 
  1. Fund technical assistance
  2. Build staff capacity through training
  3. Create flexibility through interim exemptions
  4. Offset higher costs within state housing programs
  5. Increase electrification incentive payments
Why This Matters
Over 3 million low-income renters live in multifamily housing across California. The state still needs 1.2 million additional affordable homes to adequately house its cost burdened and housing insecure lower-income households. These Californians face some of the highest housing and utility burdens, exacerbated further by the COVID-19 pandemic. Low-income Black and Latinx households have disproportionately borne both energy and pollution burdens, even before the pandemic. 
In a bid to meet California’s stringent climate goals to curb greenhouse gas emissions, many local and state agencies have passed all- or near-all-electric building standards over the last two years. Electrifying and decarbonizing buildings is crucial to achieving California’s climate-led goals. At the same time, for building decarbonization policies to be equitable, local governments and the state must acknowledge the added complexities, workforce limitations, costs and feasibility implications for affordable housing providers undergoing efforts to decarbonize their properties. There is a dire need for policy solutions that allow for an equitable transition away from fossil fuels while creating more sustainable homes.


Decarb Challenges  Decarb Summit Topics  Equitable Decarbonization Road Map