Cool or School?: The Role of Building Attributes in Explaining Residential Energy Burdens in California
This paper quantifies the dimensions of an important energy efficiency conversation: the energy burden of low-income households. Due to budgetary constraints, low-income households face a stark consumption trade-offs described as “cool or school”. This study is the first to apply multivariate building energy regression modeling to assess the independent effects of various building characteristics and appliances on a household’s energy burden in the USA. We find that more attic insulation and newer air conditioners significantly predict lower energy burdens. Furthermore, homeowners enjoy ~ 27% more attic insulation compared to renters. Our results offer empirical support for programs that offer deep retrofits to low-income households. We conclude by offering suggestions for leveraging weatherization funding to fund building energy retrofits.
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Nelson, H. T., & Gebbia, N. (2018). Cool or school?: the role of building attributes in explaining residential energy burdens in California. Energy Efficiency, 11(8), 2017-2032.