The Uneven Gains of Energy Efficiency

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Contributed date

June 11, 2020 - 1:04am

Critical Commentary

This article touches on just about every construct that constitutes energy burden. Using the City of New Orleans as an example of a high energy burden city, it illustrates how a high energy burden contributes to the affordability crisis in American cities. Stein explores how wealth disparity and energy efficiency inequities are interlocking and systemic. Poverty widens the energy burden gap while energy burden reproduces poverty in a perpetual cycle.

As people pay a greater portion of income towards energy, they are occupying low end housing stock that is cheaper but less energy efficient and are less likely to benefit from weatherization and other subsidized upgrage programs. Meanwhile health disparities continue to grow as underheated and overheated homes open residents up to a slew of health problems. 

This article highlights the vulnerability faced by the majority of low income renters in the private market that are left to a landlord's whims while housing prices continue to skyrocket. 

Group Audience

  • - Private group -

Cite as

Michael Isaac Stein for City Lab, "The Uneven Gains of Energy Efficiency", contributed by Roya Haider, The Energy Rights Project, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 11 June 2020, accessed 29 November 2022.