The Department of Energy has launched a program aimed at demonstrating clean energy solutions for affordable housing.
The DOE’s Affordable Home Energy Shot aims to drive innovative clean energy solutions in the affordable housing sector that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, make homes more resilient, and save residents money.
The aim of the Affordable Home Energy Shot is to reduce the cost of decarbonizing affordable homes by at least 50 percent, and to decrease residents’ energy costs by at least 20 percent within a decade.
The program is the eighth and final of the DOE’s Energy Earthshot initiatives that aim to address research and development challenges in next-generation clean energy technologies.
Addressing building emissions is an important component of addressing greenhouse gas emissions, the DOE said, noting that nearly one third of greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to the 130 million homes and commercial buildings in the United States that use 40 percent of the nation’s energy and 75 percent of its electricity.
The agency also noted that nearly one quarter of U.S. households experience high energy burdens and, as a result, more than 20 percent fell behind on their energy bills in 2022. In addition, lower income residents often live in older homes that lack adequate insulation and energy-efficient appliances, the DOE said, noting that households that report some form of energy insecurity reside in homes that are nearly 20 percent less efficient than average.
Targeting cost reductions of individual technologies and retrofit packages, the Affordable Home Energy Shot will help ensure communities with the greatest need will benefit from the clean energy transition, the DOE said.
The agency said that by focusing on the unique barriers specific to affordable housing, it can advance technologies that reduce upfront costs, achieve meaningful bill savings, and address the broader needs of underserved communities.
The goals of the Affordable Home Energy Shot are focused on three areas: building upgrades, efficient electrification, and smart controls. The DOE said the program will explore innovative retrofit solutions for affordable multifamily, manufactured, and single-family homes, including super-insulated retrofit panels, advanced aerosol air and duct sealing, and thin triple-pane and aerogel-insulated windows.
In terms of efficient electrification, the program aims to improve the affordability, comfort, and performance of low- to moderate-income homes by expanding access to air-conditioning, including plug-and-play heating, cooling, and water-heating solutions, low-global warming potential refrigerants, and integrated ventilation packages.
The program will also explore the use of smart electric controls, including smart electric panels and load management, grid interactive technologies, and shared circuit control between loads.