Show the Show-Me-State a More Energy Efficient Home: A Call for Consideration of Affordable Rental Housing in Missouri's State Energy Plan
We're not in Kansas, Toto. We're in Missouri. And it's going to take a lot more than Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz clicking together red sparkly heels to bring about a more energy efficient home sweet home. Many factors make it particularly difficult for affordable multifamily building owners to invest in energy efficiency repairs, upgrades, and improvements. Some include insufficient capital and incentives, underestimation of potential benefits, misaligned incentives, and lack of program coordination. That's why nineteen organizations signed on to a letter asking Governor Jay Nixon to support an increase in energy efficiency investment for affordable multifamily homes.
The signees came together to urge Governor Nixon to work with the State Energy Office and other agencies to integrate three general strategies into the current state energy planning process that will start to address some of these obstacles and lead to more energy efficient affordable housing. The three highlighted are:
- Encouraging the Public Service Commission to pro-actively collaborate with the state's utilities to ensure the successful delivery of energy efficiency services to the affordable multifamily sector;
- Directing the Department of Natural Resources to include all cost-effective energy efficiency in complying with the federal clean power plan; and
- Leveraging limited public resources by encouraging collaboration and coordination among utilities and state agencies, especially the Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC).
Affordable and energy efficient rental housing is critical for low income Missourians and the state's current energy plan process provides one avenue to make that happen. Increasing the energy efficiency of rental housing saves energy, improves resident health, and maintains reasonable rents. Additionally, improving the efficiency of these apartments helps utilities meet their energy goals and contributes to the preservation of affordable housing. Utilities in the state have done a good job of laying the groundwork for programs; all that's left is to build and improve upon the foundation and capitalize on all of the potential.
Even a scarecrow, lion, and tin-man could see that supporting energy efficient affordable rental housing is the smart, good-hearted, and courageous thing to do.