NESSBE 2023: C’est la TEA! Tenant Energy Activation

November 17, 2023

Tenants in Connecticut face some of the most extreme energy burdens in the country and often live in units that could benefit significantly from energy efficiency and electrification measures. Yet landlords control the buildings themselves, leaving tenants with few options to reduce their energy burdens. Further, landlords often lack the knowledge and motivation to make those building improvements. Solving this split-incentive conundrum continues to bedevil policymakers, owners, and tenants. Researchers from the TEA project, who documented the lived experiences of tenants and landlords through interviews and focus groups, will discuss lessons learned about engaging tenants in activism and how housing justice advocates are raising awareness. We will consider whether owner-occupant or small investor landlords know and take advantage of the available resources and how municipalities and policymakers can work with larger management companies and distant landlords. An enlightened local landlord will share energy improvements they are undertaking to benefit their building, their tenants, and themselves. Finally, we will discuss actionable approaches to achieve energy efficiency and reduce energy burdens on tenants. Landlord education, energy transparency legislation, and new tenant energy advocacy approaches are highlighted.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  • After participating in this session, attendees should be able to understand what factors lead tenants to have mixed experiences with energy efficiency programs.
  • After participating, attendees will become familiar with barriers to collective action and housing justice advocates’ steps to raise awareness around tenant-engaged energy justice activism.
  • Attendees will be able to name energy improvements landlords can make to benefit tenants and themselves.
  • After participating, attendees can describe actionable approaches to achieving energy-efficient, affordable housing, thereby reducing tenants’ energy burdens.