Green mortgages: Homes need to catch up to climate change

The Hill

When we think of tackling the problem of climate change we might think of smoke-belching power plants, or gas-guzzling trucks, or the guilty pleasure of a last-minute flight to Cancun.  

But a huge part of the climate problem is generated by us, simply living our daily lives, at home or at work. Twenty percent of total emissions in the U.S. originate in energy consumption in the home. No doubt, we could do better in turning off the lights and setting the thermostat to more moderate temperatures, but a big part of the problem is beyond our control. Most people don’t deliberately waste electricity. You can’t help it. America’s buildings; its homes, its offices, its stores and its warehouses, leak. They leak heat in the winter and cool in the summer. 

Bigger houses lived in by the most affluent, leak most. But it is those on low incomes, in poor quality housing who pay proportionally the highest bills. The pain is evident in the alarming figures for energy poverty amongst Black and Latinx Americans (more than one in three.) The energy crisis is wrapped up in a broader housing crisis. In Baltimore, 42 percent of the homes are so severely afflicted by mold and decay that they are unsafe for the basic insulation work needed to fix their energy leaks. In Atlanta the percentage may be as high as 64 percent.

Read the full article at The Hill.

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