L.A. launches energy efficiency retrofit program for low-income renters

Housing retrofit
On Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021 the city of Los Angeles announced a $75 million program to provide energy efficiency retrofits to low-income tenants in Los Angeles. Photo credit Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a $75 million program Friday to provide energy efficiency retrofits to low-income tenants in Los Angeles.

"Tackling the climate crisis is about more than just government action—it's about giving our most vulnerable residents the tools they need to join this fight," Garcetti said in a statement. "[And] reverse generations of environmental inequities, and cut their own energy costs."

The Comprehensive Affordable Multifamily Retrofits program was approved by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.

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"The CAMR program is an important step on Los Angeles' path to carbon-neutrality, empowering Angelenos who often bear a disproportionate burden of the climate emergency to take advantage of several solutions that will help build a greener, more equitable, and more prosperous city," Garcetti said.

The program will provide incentives for building electrification and on-site solar installation, in hopes of creating green jobs and helping tenants and landlords save money on energy bills, officials said. Buildings will qualify if they have five or more units and at least two third of the households at or below 80% of the area median income.

"By providing guidance and support specifically to multifamily housing serving low-income residents, the CAMR program will help to fill an important need in Los Angeles while also supporting high-quality jobs for the local workforce," said Blanca de la Cruz, Sustainable Housing Program director at the California Housing Partnership, which is part of the Energy Efficiency for All coalition.

More than 3,000 units are expected to participate in the program within the first year. Building owners will receive free energy assessments, along with help scoping retrofit projects based on possible energy savings and cuts in costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Incentives will vary depending on the project's greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and the largest incentives will be for retrofit measures that reduce tenant-paid energy bills.

"We are working across LADWP to expand the availability of valuable, money-saving programs for all of our customers, and to remove barriers that many of our customers face when trying to do their part to save energy and water," Board of Water & Power Commissioners President Cynthia McClain-Hill said in a statement.

"This program removes a significant barrier faced by renters who have struggled to save energy and money by working with property owners of low-income and multifamily units. L.A.'s renters rightly deserve the same investment in programs to help them conserve electricity, while also saving on their utility bills."

The DWP also expanded its Home Energy Improvement Program, which brings the total amount of energy incentives available to low-income renter households to $150 million. The city's Green New Deal aimed to invest $100 million in energy efficiency programs for tenants.

Details on how to apply for the program were not immediately released.

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