These severe energy burdens have been exacerbated in recent years by increased rates for both natural gas and electric. Natural gas prices have increased more than 50% since 2020 and AES-Ohio raised generation charges from 4.8 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to 10.91 cents per kWh starting this past June. Luckily, the City of Dayton’s Community Choice Aggregation program offered some relief to the electric generation increases by locking in a rate of 7.457 cents per kWh, almost a third lower than the standard offering.
To meet the need for efficiency improvements in Dayton’s housing stock and lower household energy burdens, Dayton Energy Collaborative, in partnership with Miami Valley Community Action Partnership, CountyCorp, and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Dayton, has developed a one-stop-shop home repair and retrofit program.
The one-stop-shop hopes to address three of the largest barriers facing traditional retrofit programs, namely that they have a limited scope of retrofit measures, inadequate funding compared to demand, and high deferral rates. Retrofit programs are generally limited to working only on weatherization and efficiency measures. Even with limited scope, household retrofit programs don’t have the funding necessary to meet the need for retrofitting all low- and moderate-income housing. Another challenge facing existing programs is that due to inadequate funding, restrictive eligibility qualifications, and safety requirements deferral rates are as high as 50%.
By coordinating various funding and financing resources to implement measures that address the whole building as a system, rather than one-off projects that leave more work on the table and families having to re-apply for assistance multiple times.
On average, weatherization measures can save 18% in heating consumption and 7% in electric consumption for an annual savings of $372. Investing in whole home retrofits with these households creates housing that is affordable, healthy, and energy efficient.
Addressing housing affordability in Dayton will take an all-of-the-above approach including rehabbing existing structures and building new developments. Among those solutions needs to be reducing high energy burdens for low- and moderate-income households. By investing in household repairs and retrofits, Dayton households can continue to live in their current homes with lower bills, better comfort, and improved air quality.
Tom Tappel is the Executive Director at the Dayton Energy Collaborative.