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The Pathway Forward for Electrifying Multifamily Affordable Rental Housing

Affordable housing providers are faced with the challenge of providing safe and comfortable housing for low-income families while also being mindful of their impact on the environment. California policymakers have embraced electrification as a promising solution for reducing carbon emissions and improving energy efficiency in buildings, which are associated with nearly one fourth of the state’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.

This report highlights the experiences of three affordable housing providers – Mutual Housing, Community Corporation of Santa Monica, and Holos Communities – as they began the process of electrifying their affordable home portfolios. Each of these nonprofit providers has embraced electrification design and technologies at an early stage and employed a distinct strategy to make the transition, while overcoming various challenges in the process. The findings and lessons learned from these first all-electric developments show how housing practitioners can integrate building decarbonization and electrification solutions into their new developments and existing portfolios. While both Mutual Housing and the Community Corporation of Santa Monica completed their developments prior to the launch of the Building Initiatives for Low-Emissions Development (BUILD) and the Comprehensive Affordable Multifamily Retrofits (CAMR) programs in early 2023, their all-electric developments align with the kind of initiatives that these programs presently encourage and endorse.