New Toolkit to Help Reduce Low-Income Household Energy Burden

Low-income households on average spend over 8% of their income on energy costs, three times more than other households. With 50 million U.S. households defined as low-income, there is a significant opportunity for energy efficiency and cost savings. Partners in the Better Buildings Clean Energy for Low-Income Communities Accelerator (CELICA) – a two-year effort to identify solutions to low-income energy burden – committed $335 million to help 155,000 low-income households access energy efficiency and renewable energy benefits. DOE collected resources and summarized lessons learned in the new CELICA Toolkit.

The toolkit provides materials to help local-level program administrators enhance and expand on work funded through utility, state, and federal programs. Collected from over 30 CELICA partners from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, these resources focus on low-income energy program development strategies related to:

One such resource is the Low-income Energy Affordability Data (LEAD) Tool. Developed by DOE with CELICA partners, the LEAD Tool uses U.S. Census Bureau data to allow users to compare types of housing and their energy costs by income level down to the state, county, city, and census tract level, informing stakeholders about the energy characteristics of these homes.

The toolkit also includes replicable models for serving low-income households, with examples from successful partners for specific single-family and multifamily housing programs as well as models for setting up community solar. These models focus on holistic approaches that integrate energy efficiency, renewable energy, and health and safety, and they include incentive models, financing structures, and public-private partnership strategies.

The CELICA Toolkit is a go-to resource for stakeholders looking to increase access to the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy and unlock savings for communities and individuals. Explore the CELICA Toolkit here, and make sure to check out the other toolkits in the Better Buildings Solution Center.