Energy Equity – Advancing Energy Efficiency in Maryland for Low Income Households – HB379
Annapolis, MD – February 4, 2021 – Only 9.5% of EmPOWER Maryland energy efficiency program funds go to limited-income households in Maryland. House Bill 379 (Public Utilities – Low-Income Housing – Energy Performance Targets) has been introduced in the Maryland General Assembly by Delegate Lorig Charkoudian and is being heard before the House of Delegates Economic Matters Committee in Annapolis today. The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) are releasing a video that highlights the need to direct more of our EmPOWER program dollars to limited-income Marylanders. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the Maryland Energy Administration and Maryland utility companies are making great efforts to improve energy efficiency overall in the state. To make sure that all of Marylanders are receiving the benefits of the EmPOWER program, HB379 would set an energy savings goal for low-income households in Maryland that would help the state calibrate policies and effectively allocate our resources at a scale to reach that goal.
View the Video on the impacts of residential energy efficiency interventions, Maryland’s need for greater energy equity and why this legislation will help us better serve those of greatest need in our communities at: Energy Equity Video
Energy efficiency can provide significant economic and health benefits to those who receive services. In a time where the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the ability of millions of Marylanders to pay their utility bills, energy efficiency can be life-changing as was highlighted in a recent Baltimore Sun article. Energy efficiency interventions enable residents to use less energy, thereby reducing utility bills and contributing to housing stability, and often results in a healthier home environment by improving indoor air quality and reducing thermal stress.
House Bill 379 would help direct more energy efficiency program resources to limited-income Marylanders by more effectively targeting energy-efficiency resources from the state’s EmPOWER program to lower income residents who need it most. Maryland’s limited-income households pay 550% more on energy as a portion of household income than non-limited-income households. On average, limited-income households are also more likely to live in older, deteriorated homes with aging energy infrastructure. For these reasons, limited income households can often benefit the most from energy efficiency programs. However, in Maryland, current programs are funded inadequately to meet that need. At the current rate, it will take 130 years for state programs to provide energy efficiency upgrades to all 450,000 eligible households.
We commend Delegate Lorig Charkoudian for her efforts to advance energy efficiency program performance goals to better support limited-income Marylanders. If enacted, House Bill 379 will result in increased economic stability and mobility and improved health outcomes for residents while bringing over $509 million in benefits to the State of Maryland. Learn more about HB379 and how setting a state energy savings goal for low-income households will reduce energy cost burdens for families and seniors at: Energy Savings Goal Fact Sheet
About the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative
Founded in Baltimore, MD in 1986 as Parents Against Lead, the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative is one of the nation’s most effective and influential healthy housing organizations. It serves the public through direct service programs, technical assistance and advisory services across the United States. A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, GHHI is focused on addressing the social determinants of health and racial and health equity. To learn more, please visit www.ghhi.org and follow us at: @HealthyHousing