Energy-Efficiency Standards of Federally Funded Housing Rehabilitation Programs in North Carolina

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Title: Energy-Efficiency Standards of Federally Funded Housing Rehabilitation Programs in North Carolina
Author: Chevalier, Monica
Abstract: CHEVALIER, MONICA J. Master of Natural Resources- Policy and Administration Technical Option. Energy-Efficiency Standards of Federally Funded Housing Rehabilitation Programs in North Carolina. (Under the direction of Drs. Sarah T. Warren and Gary B. Blank). Approximately one-third of the homeowners and half of the renters in North Carolina live in non-affordable homes, spending more than 30% of household income on housing costs, including utilities. With the increasing electric utility rates in North Carolina, costs associated with home energy consumption are becoming a larger portion of housing costs. Low-income homeowners do not have the financial resources to make energy-efficient improvements to their homes to decrease housing costs, and therefore seek government assistance. However, depending on the government program, energy-efficiency may not be the primary objective, or even a priority. The North Carolina Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) programs, funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), are two housing rehabilitation assistance programs available in the state for low-income households. The goals of this research were to 1) examine if the homeowner needs of energy-efficiency match the priorities of HUD-funded housing rehabilitation programs in the state, and 2) investigate the process of integrating energy-efficiency policies into the HUD programs and make recommendations to modify program administration. Public documents and data from government agencies were examined to: 1) compare the eligibility criteria of the two programs, 2) identify energy and electricity usage and costs of the state’s residential sector, 3) identify the state’s low-income household demographics and housing characteristics, 4) identify federal and state standards and policies that successfully integrate residential energy efficiency, 5) identify HUD’s energy efficiency policies, and 6) identify which of North Carolina’s HUD-funded programs do not integrate energy-efficiency into housing rehabilitation assistance. Project findings indicate that households with the greatest need for affordable housing and affordable energy assistance reside in the eligible service areas of the state’s CDBG and HOME housing rehabilitation programs. The state’s CDBG program did not integrate HUD’s recommendation of implementing ENERGY STAR standards, but the state’s HOME program requires ENERGY STAR standards as of 2013. In addition, budget restrictions have contributed to administrative gaps in both programs, limiting program capacity to meet the affordable, energy-efficient housing needs of low-income households in the state. Therefore, in preparation for the state’s 2016-2020 plan, the state administrative agencies must strengthen positive partnerships, enhance education for policy decision-makers and homeowners, conduct community outreach, seek support from governing bodies, and obtain guidance on feasible options to reinvigorate the programs with energy-efficient standards for housing rehabilitation.
Publisher: North Carolina State University. College of Natural Resources
Date: 2014-11
Series/Report No.: Master of Natural Resources Professional Papers (North Carolina State University. College of Natural Resources)
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.4/8564


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