Feds Issue New Energy Efficiency Standards for Affordable Housing

The new standards are expected to lower energy costs for low-income households.

1 minute read

April 28, 2024, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Close-up of electricity meter on house with sunset light in background.

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A new set of building codes for affordable housing developments funded by federal dollars target energy efficiency, reports Kriston Capps for Bloomberg CityLab. “The standards will translate to lower costs for households least able to afford high energy prices, according to federal officials. Lower-income households spend on average 8% of their income on energy, compared to a national average of 3%, per the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.”

The updated rules satisfy a 2007 law that required HUD to periodically update its energy efficiency codes. “The federal agencies have been out of compliance since 2015, however, so this overhaul will result in a significant leap in terms of code editions and energy savings,” according to Capps. The new International Energy Conservation Code standard for homes and small multifamily buildings is 34 percent more efficient than the 2009 edition currently in use.

HUD says the rule will affect roughly 150,000 new units each year. The new standards could raise construction costs by roughly $7,229 per single-family home. “To offset the cost of upgrades, tax credits created by the Inflation Reduction Act and other rebates can save homebuilders between $2,500 and $5,000 for meeting higher energy standards.”

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