Residential Research Quarterly: September 2019

In our third quarterly residential research roundup of 2019, USGBC highlights several reports. Check out the latest on strategies for energy savings in low-income multifamily projects, a new report on the nation’s housing market, a new clean energy scorecard and fresh findings from residential stakeholders on their perspectives on energy use and savings. Plus, make sure you don’t miss USGBC’s new Living Standard report.

Low Income, High Efficiency: Policies to Expand Low-Income Multifamily Energy Savings Retrofits | Berkeley Law

This 2019 report is part of an ongoing series focused on the role of climate change in presenting opportunities for innovations in the California-based business sector. In part to reach its ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, the state has established strict energy efficiency requirements for residential projects—though meeting such requirements is often most challenging in the low-income multifamily residential sector. This report examines methods to increase the rate of efficiency retrofit projects and incentives for the affordable housing sector, including facilitated access to reliable long-term funding, enhanced program integration and expanded metrics.

Learn about the role of LEED in providing healthy, resilient, affordable housing in our new Green for All policy brief.

The State of the Nation’s Housing 2019 | Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

This annual report provides a summary of the current conditions of the U.S. housing market, including examination of recent trends and an assessment of changing metrics—all with the goal in mind of providing affordable, livable homes for all. Among the findings in this year’s report is a continued shortfall in new housing production, as additions to the housing stock have grown at an average annual rate of only 10 percent. As previously reported by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, home energy consumption continues to decline, and Harvard researchers note this is likely a result of greater efficiency of new residential construction as well as efficiency updates to existing housing.

To learn more about LEED’s role in reducing energy consumption in buildings, check out our energy performance policy brief.

Standard Issue Volume II | Living Standard + USGBC

USGBC’s Living Standard campaign recently released its second research report, which revealed that although most people hold environmental issues in high importance, they do not believe the outcomes are substantial enough to prioritize action. Building industry stakeholders are making progress in increasing visibility of sustainable practices—think of doorstep recycling at multifamily buildings—but more emphasis is needed to encourage small, yet impactful individual changes. Along with the findings, the report also includes an action toolkit sharing ways to convey the importance of green building practices to the broader public.

The 2019 City Clean Energy Scorecard | American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

This report by ACEEE scores 75 U.S. cities on their efforts to improve energy efficiency and increase use of renewable energy. Boston topped the list for the third consecutive year, followed by San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C. The methodology used by ACEEE offered cities additional points for green building requirements, including LEED and Energy Star certifications. Cities that had adopted effective energy policies or new initiatives were deemed “cities to watch,” and included Hartford, Providence and Cincinnati—the latter of which has been a recent leader in adopting policies that encourage LEED certification.

As covered in USGBC’s 2018 case study, Cincinnati’s Community Reinvestment Area Tax Abatement program offers property tax exemptions for residential investment in the city, with greater abatement periods offered for projects earning LEED certification.

Deloitte Resources 2019 Study | Deloitte

In this ninth annual study, Deloitte asked more than 1,500 U.S. residential consumers and 600 U.S. businesses about their views and actions concerning energy and resource management. Researchers found that 67 percent of residential consumers are “very concerned” about climate change and their personal carbon footprints, and the percentage of residential consumers concerned about keeping energy costs affordable rose from 57 to 63 percent since last year. "Energy cost" continues to be stated as the most important energy issue for households, with "clean energy sources" falling slightly, to 50 percent. For residential consumers, the cost and complexity involved in acting on climate change and reducing emissions often restrict how much they can change the status quo back at home.

Discover how LEED v4.1 can help reach energy goals in your home and beyond.

If you have any suggestions for any future studies we should share, please contact Alysson Blackwelder.

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