LA100 Equity Strategies. Chapter 6: Universal Access to Safe and Comfortable Home Temperatures

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The LA100 Equity Strategies project integrates community guidance with robust research, modeling, and analysis to identify strategy options that can increase equitable outcomes in Los Angeles' clean energy transition. This chapter focuses on housing weatherization and cooling technologies as means to increase access to safe and comfortable home temperatures. Lack of cooling access and use can have severe health impacts on building occupants during heat waves. Specifically, NREL developed and used a residential building stock model to simulate the energy use of 50,000 dwellings representing the diversity of housing types, appliances, climate zones, and household incomes across Los Angeles. We compared a baseline scenario with seven upgrade scenarios. Five scenarios cooled the entire household and featured cooling systems at varying efficiency levels with various improvements to the envelope, roof, and shading, and two scenarios cooled a single room in a household with no prior cooling using either a room air-conditioning or a heat pump system. For each scenario, we evaluated impacts on utility bills, payback periods, and changes in energy burdens, as well as ability to achieve safe and comfortable temperatures. We also examined the effects of building types (multifamily vs. single-family) on indoor air temperatures. Based on the results of modeling, analysis, and community guidance, we identified six short-term and two long-term strategies for improving access to building envelope upgrades and cooling strategies that could save lives and maintain safe home temperatures for Los Angeles' low-income households during heat waves. Research was guided by input from the community engagement process, and associated equity strategies are presented in alignment with that guidance.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages63
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5500-85953


  • air conditioning
  • cooling
  • equity
  • housing
  • Los Angeles
  • multifamily
  • single-family


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