Energy Retrofit Policy and Programs in Low-Income Housing Markets: Implications for Energy Equity in Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland cityscape at night
Project Type
April 2021
Researchers are studying how energy retrofitting finance and policy interact with racialized housing segregation and affordability in Cleveland, Ohio, with the goal of informing energy transition programs and policies in other cities.

Cities across the U.S. are responding to the climate crisis with plans to implement energy efficiency goals and standards. Linking housing affordability and energy efficiency is at the heart of these planning efforts in Cleveland, Ohio, a Rust Belt city with severe housing cost burdens and racial segregation in the private housing market, in which small landlords provide the majority of low-income housing. This project examines Cleveland’s energy transition plans – an the actors implementing them – to capture knowledge about the relationships between 1) energy retrofitting finance and policy and 2) racialized housing segregation and affordability.

Through analyzing the use and financing of energy retrofit programs in Cleveland, the study will help us better understand how residential energy transition programs and policies unfold in low-income housing markets, where racially minoritized households are overrepresented. The study will also provide lessons about the governance of and barriers to implementing energy retrofits in low-income rental markets – knowledge that can be adapted for use in Pennsylvania cities and other places with older housing stock, historical legacies of racial segregation, and high numbers of low-income renters.


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