Evaluating Energy Efficiency Potential in Low-Income Households: A Flexible and Granular Approach

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18 Scopus Citations


This study presents a new approach to evaluating energy efficiency potential that provides a more accurate, granular, and flexible estimate of the cost-effective energy efficiency potential in households of various income ranges. Results from this work estimate that in U.S. single-family households with income less than 200% of the federal poverty level, energy efficiency packages tailored to maximize net present value could result in an estimated $13 billion per year in energy cost savings, or $670 per year for an average household, corresponding to about 1 EJ (0.9 quads) of annual primary energy savings. These types of metrics can be estimated for other geographies (regions, states, and counties) and for other ranges of household income. These results can be used by policymakers and program designers to improve the cost-effectiveness of income-qualified programs and to improve the equity of non-income-qualified programs. The results can also be used to understand how energy efficiency opportunities differ between urban and rural areas, as well as how energy efficiency can spur economic development in areas that have had high poverty rates for decades.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)710-737
Number of pages28
JournalEnergy Policy
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5500-72072


  • Building stock modeling
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Energy efficiency potential
  • Energy modeling
  • Low-income housing
  • Weatherization


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