Thursday, February 18, 2016

Work should continue to make greener affordable housing as courts consider the Clean Power Plan

by Ethan Handelman and Rebekah King

While the Supreme Court’s recent action may delay implementation of the Clean Power Plan (CPP), housing stakeholders should continue their efforts to create affordable housing that is healthier, more energy efficient and better for the environment. The rationale for greener affordable housing is compelling on its own merits and we should encourage it through the CPP process and elsewhere.

The stay imposed by the Supreme Court is just a pause while other legal action gets resolved. In the meantime, efforts on the Clean Power Plan will keep moving forward in states that have already started implementation planning work. The Clean Power Plan continues to present an opportunity to make greener affordable housing as a cost-effective way to meet environmental goals. Once legal issues are resolved, states that are still moving forward will likely move to implement the plan swiftly, so affordable housing stakeholders should engage now with new partners like air regulators, utilities and state energy offices. States that have not begun working on CPP may have to play catch-up, so preparatory outreach by housing stakeholders now could also pay off there.

What if the Clean Power Plan stops completely? Making a strong case for energy efficient, healthier, greener housing is still valuable. The CPP certainly provides a strong incentive for states to invest in green affordable housing to meet carbon reduction goals, but several states have already made those investments before the CPP was around. Other states may take further steps on their own, if CPP stops. In any of those eventualities, a strong voice from housing stakeholders can encourage public investments in energy efficiency to include affordable housing.

The National Housing Conference will continue work with housing stakeholders and allies to pursue more ways to invest in energy efficiency improvements in affordable housing. Creating greener affordable housing provides better outcomes for resident health, building quality and the environment, and NHC looks forward to its ongoing work to support green affordable housing. If you want to learn more about how to get involved, here are some places to start:

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