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Decarbonization Retrofits for Affordable Housing: A Chicago Case Study

This paper was presented at the 2022 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. View the accompanying presentation here

Reducing carbon emissions in existing buildings presents a wide set of challenges, even more so in affordable housing. Elevate and its community partners are overcoming these challenges to bring decarbonization retrofits to the tenants and owners of existing multi-family buildings.

In this paper, Elevate, Bickerdike Redevelopment Corp, ComEd, and Slipstream present findings thus far from a retrofit of La Paz Place, a 44-unit affordable housing property in Chicago. Construction began in November 2021 and is expected to conclude Summer 2022 across the three buildings at the property, where natural gas equipment for heating, cooking, hot water, and laundry was converted to all-electric heat pumps, smart thermostats, electric stoves, and electric dryers. Rooftop solar will be added after electrification is complete. The project is projected to reduce energy consumption by 65% and carbon emissions by 44%, without increasing utility costs for the tenants or owner.

Project partners are conducting pre- and post-retrofit monitoring and evaluation on a subset of units, including power metering and indoor air quality monitoring. Our lessons learned through the construction phase of the project focus on how to scale whole-building decarbonization retrofits for communities most in need.

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