U.S. cities, states, and counties are acting with increasing urgency to enact policies that reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from buildings such as building performance standards (BPS). At the same time, they also face a crisis in the affordability of housing, where increasing housing costs threaten to displace untold numbers of residents. This document is meant as an introductory brief for jurisdictions working on BPS to develop strategies, policies, and programs that address housing affordability and counteract displacement in that context. There is no one-size-fits all solution to addressing the myriad of issues related to housing affordability across jurisdictions, but this document seeks to describe the landscape of considerations and propose vetted paths forward. As part of the research informing this paper, our nonprofit partner, Elevate, conducted a series of interviews with a range of stakeholders in the affordable housing space, including a range of types of owners of affordable housing, tenant advocates, and various practitioners in order to delve into the perceived challenges of BPS as well as to gather input on practical solutions. Learnings and primary source quotes from those interviews have been included throughout the paper.
This policy brief serves as a starting point for jurisdictions to use to initiate discussions with housing and community stakeholders in their BPS policy development process.
Other available briefs in this series: