Decarbonizing affordable rental housing is critical to mitigating climate change and meeting the Biden Administration’s target for a net-zero emissions national economy by 2050. It also offers numerous benefits, including energy cost savings, improved health and well-being, and economic opportunities. However, challenges related to upfront costs, tenant turnover, technical expertise, and policy support must be addressed to accelerate the market’s adoption of decarbonization. Collaboration between governments, policymakers, landlords, tenants, and industry experts is essential to overcome these challenges and achieve a sustainable and equitable future.

We are faced with a historic moment: the Inflation Reduction Act has provided $27 billion to mobilize financing and leverage private capital for clean energy and climate projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, emphasizing projects that benefit low-income and disadvantaged communities. This investment in climate change mitigation has given Federal agencies an unprecedented opportunity to create systems change at the Federal level. Now is the time to begin transforming the affordable housing market – and, ultimately, the built environment – to incorporate decarbonization as a standard business practice. The policy levers contained in this working paper outline a series of steps that can be taken to advance decarbonization today, create sustainable systems change, and climate align housing for our future.


Carsey School of Public Policy

Publication Date

Summer 8-2-2023


Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



Copyright 2023. Carsey School of Public Policy. These materials may be used for the purposes of research, teaching, and private study. For all other uses, contact the copyright holder.





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