People in poverty and in older buildings have less energy efficient lives. That is a one sentence takeaway from a report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. The report is called, Taking Stock: Links between Local Policy and Building Energy Use across the United States.

This is while more efficient energy habits are increasingly common. “Between 2013 and 2016, per capita building electricity and natural gas use declined at annual rates of approximately one percent and four percent, respectively, in medium and large US urban municipalities.” That is attributed to fewer people in poverty during this time and more energy efficient buildings.

Building efficiency is important because some 40 percent of greenhouse gases come from building energy use. New and more efficient structures use less energy. More than half of home energy use is for heating and air conditioning. (EIA)

Not everyone can fix up their buildings for better energy efficiency. “Local governments have an opportunity to reduce per capita energy use by increasing the pace of energy-efficient housing construction projects while designing and implementing carefully targeted initiatives that improve access to energy-efficient affordable housing for low-income households,” said the report.

The general “upgrade” concept is not new. I recall some decades ago that one area of California wanted to reduce air pollution. One part of the solution was to offer to buy older cars for a flat fee and get them off the road. Poof, there were some cleaner cars on the highway and older car pollution was gone.

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*See the report for the analysis of building codes, demographics, heating/cooling days, density of people, etc.