Residential energy efficiency and renewable energy
The MI Healthy Climate Plan established an ambitious goal of reducing Michigan’s building emissions 17 percent by 2030. While modern building codes and new appliances have helped increase overall energy efficiency in homes built over the last 50 years, older residences are lagging in energy efficiency measures and often rely on fossil-fueled appliances. Older homes (roughly 50 percent of the state’s housing stock) tend to be more difficult to decarbonize due to the intensity of upgrades required.
Disadvantaged communities face additional challenges. While residents may be income qualified for upgrades, benefits are often deferred due to costly repairs required to make homes “weatherization ready” like roof repair or lead abatement. These challenges exacerbate the inequities in residential decarbonization and energy efficiency efforts, presenting major roadblocks for meeting the state’s building emissions targets.
How can we overcome these roadblocks? We believe that the answer lies in combining critical home repair with energy efficiency and decarbonization upgrades all at once. It’s an all-hands-on-deck idea, but one that we plan to realize through strategic partnerships with possibilities to scale. And we believe there’s no better place to start than Flint.
We’re partnering with Genesee County Habitat for Humanity to combine our residential decarbonization efforts with Habitat’s long-standing and successful critical home repair program for low-income residents. It’s a “dig-once” approach to decarbonization; while a qualifying homeowner is receiving major structural repairs or accessibility improvements, their home will also be outfitted with decarbonization technologies, such as heat pumps, rooftop solar systems, and battery storage devices. The result will be homes that are safe, comfortable, efficient, and resilient—all at no extra cost to the homeowner.
In addition to our partnership with Genesee County Habitat for Humanity, the program team is working with the City of Flint to communicate the benefits of residential decarbonization and upcoming funding sources to the community so residents at all income levels can participate in the energy transition. It will take a concerted effort to meet the state’s climate goals, but we believe that by showing a path forward for homes in cities like Flint, we can catalyze similar programs in communities across Michigan.
Residential energy efficiency and decarbonization, such as:
Renewable energy generation and storage, such as:
For Flint, program success looks like deploying cost-effective solutions that strengthen operational efficiency and improve the quality of life for residents across the city.
Smart city technology will enhance and prolong the lifespan of infrastructure in areas where residents live, work, and play. It will also cut operations and maintenance costs, allowing the city to invest its resources in alternative programming that will enrich residents’ lives. Further, smart, clean solutions in Flint will advance the city’s climate, environmental, and economic justice goals.