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Opportunities for Energy Efficiency in Low-Income Michigan Housing

Michigan’s nearly 10 million residents live in 4.5 million units of housing, which are as diverse and dispersed as the state itself. This housing can include multifamily apartment buildings in urban areas, single family homes in residential neighborhoods, or manufactured housing in a rural county. Each type of housing serves low-income families, whose numbers have grown since the Great Recession. This paper compiles a range of data sources to understand the breakdown of low-income households, housing type, and utility usage throughout the state of Michigan.

In order to drive investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation, it is paramount to understand the existing residential building stock. Such analysis is important and timely because it can be used to estimate the potential for renewable energy investments; develop a pipeline of available buildings in a given geography; and communicate to implementers, funders, and advocates the widespread need for interventions like energy and water retrofits and distributed generation and storage.

This paper demonstrates that whether urban or rural, nearly 47% of Michigan’s 3.5 million households are considered low-income, i.e., they earn 80% of the area median income (AMI) for their metro area or rural county.

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