Thermodynamics: An Evaluation Tool For Pie-In-The Sky Energy Futures

Without pretending to be exhaustive in any way, this is a post that offers some assistance to folks looking to understand which way a 'green energy' future lies. Such issues...

Tomorrow’s Heating Energy To Save The World? Hot Rocks. . . Sort Of, Maybe?

It's hard to pick a winner in tomorrow's great affordable energy race to avoid overheating the planet. Scotland is sure that the future belongs to Heat Pumps. They are already...

A Denver Experiment To Improve Access To Food And Generate Electricity

Have you heard of the three sisters? They are the corn, beans and squash plants, which have been grown together in indigenous gardens for centuries. Each one helps the...

Lessons From An Ambitious Retrofit In A Glasgow Tenement

This writer has never been to Scotland, but 107 Niddrie Road in Glasgow has become a familiar address. The building is over 100 years old and belongs to the...

Heat Pumps: Political Darlings, Practical Poop-0uts?

Heat pumps. Greener than green? Indeed. Saving the planet one lukewarm sip at a time? Maybe. But heating? You want to know if they keep people warm? Well now, that's...

A Deep And Wet Dive Into The Strengths of Passivhaus Technology For Building Social Housing

“PassivhausPassivhaus and Passive House refer to a standard for setting levels of energy use in new buildings. EnerPHit does the same for buildings that are being renovated. We're using...

Transportation And Deeply Affordable Housing — An Ongoing Tension In Urban Life

Our lives depend on transportation. Stuff needs to get shipped into and through the communities where people live. People need transport to get to work, shop for essentials and...

A Prescription For Heat Pump Programs In The United Kingdom

It's no wonder that uptake on heat pumps in the United Kingdom has been so much lower than its close neighbours. In northern climates, houses need to be adequately insulated...

Los Angeles Tenants Speak Up For A Carbon Neutral Future

Tenants in Los Angeles want to reduce emissions and energy consumption. That wish is clouded by two concerns: their rents will go up a lot and/or they will be...

Renovating Public Housing: A Chance To Do Better For Tenants And The Community

Three researchers have done a thorough analysis of renovations to social housing that is owned by the Portuguese city of Porto. The research is significant because the housing forms an...

Heat Pump Heaven? Much Of The United Kingdom Shivers At the Thought

The use of the word 'admits' in a newspaper headline rather suggests that the confessor has hitherto engaged in some kind of coverup. That's an unfortunate meta-message in this...

Refurbish Social Housing? How To Find Out If It Is Dollar-Cheap But Carbon-Expensive?

Aging Social Housing: Pull it down and build something better? Or refurbish it? Over the past few decades, some countries influenced by neoliberal political thought have dodged the practicalities of...

Amid UK Social Housing Energy Efficiency Sticks, There Be Carrots

Legal challenges to the UK government's foot dragging around the issue of the energy efficiency of social housing are increasing — either already in progress, or standing at the...

Ethical Business Runs Headlong Into An Ethical Dilemma – Tenant Wellbeing

Shelby R. King, writing in Shelterforce, asks whether an investment firm that owns residential property and regularly evicts its tenants should be eligible for the coveted B CorpB Corp is a...

Notes From The Heat Pump Battlefront Lines

Forgetful as always, it's time to quiz our readers on what we've been reporting. We need all the help we can get. Heat pumps? Yes, we know we've been there,...

The Role Of Tea When Facing Up To Renovations In Social Rent Housing

Does anyone brew tea in a pot any longer? And what about tea cozies, the padded and fitted covers that go over the pot to keep tea warm? With...

To Need Is To Plead: America’s Flirtation With Heat Pumps Gets Serious

Heat Pumps: just who is pleading for this trendy technology in America? Public Housing is who, and not just some potty little local Housing Authority with a handful of...

Does Australian Accounting End A ‘Kick Public Housing Down’ Era?

In North America these days, the commitment to public housing still tends to be drowning underwater, or perhaps buried meters-deep in the primordial mud at the bottom of the...

England ‘Business As Usual’ Housing Bangs Head-On Into Climate Change

'Business as Usual?' The YIMBY movement  — Yes in MY. . . OK, YOUR Back Yard? Or maybe best to use those generally politically desirable (for builders) terms: kill the by-laws,...

Men’s Nipples Visible Through Shirt? Time For New Housing Standards!

This post is hardly good news for citizens of the United Kingdom. Other nationalities may view it with a sigh of relief together with head-scratching curiosity. As far as...

Windsor, Ontario Takes On ‘Green’ Public Housing Refurbishment

In North America, providing housing for the most vulnerable has been achieving limited success in 'mixed' income housing projects. Decaying public housing is torn down and replaced with new,...

Scoping The Challenge Of Reducing Energy Emissions In Our Homes

The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University annually issues a 'State of the Nation's Housing' report. A release 'event' is convened where the results are reported and...

‘Go Green’ Bleeds Life Into Public Housing ‘Demolition By Neglect’

Why should New York City, and a lot of other cities for that matter, refurbish existing public housing when knocking it down and building anew would be cheaper? Because it's...

Energy Retrofits In Older Homes: A Case Study

Climate change is a compelling argument for doing things differently. In northern climates at least, our homes contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions and rising global temperatures. Researchers have...

An Affordable Housing Odd Couple Worth Monitoring?

Still early days for a pair of city newly-weds, but . . . Should we remark on the potential of  a "V for Victory" link-up between the two cities, Vancouver,...

You Can’t Get There From Here – Learning From The UK’S Retrofit Journey

Four years ago a UK report advocated public housing as the optimal launch pad for a campaign to meet the committments to achieve decarbonization of homesBuilding decarbonization is a...

Is EnerPHit the Future of Affordable Housing?

Can affordable housing high rises serve the needs of low-income people and cut carbon dioxide emissions at the same time — all at a competitive cost? Let's look at...

After Suitable Caution, We’re Pumping Our Fists For Norwegian Heat Pumps

Are there reasons to be cheerful about heat pumps? That's the story from Norway. Being apartment renters all, the staff of affordablehousingaction.org's own cheeriness about heat pumps is entirely...

Manchester UK Breaks New Ground In Building Social Housing To Green Specs

Social housing activists on both sides of the Atlantic from USA across to the UK and Europe, fight an uphill battle against persistent remnants of neoliberal thought. By now, everyone...

A Rhode Island Public Housing Collective Becomes An Electricity Farm

The earliest forms of energy conversion for human use were granular — many small conversions using wood or peat or coal in a fireplace for warmth or a stove...

France Plans Targets For Using Natural Materials In Public Buildings

A 15 unit public housing project in Paris's 18th arrondissement is catching the attention of architectural magazines. The building, which is built with hempcrete insulation, rises no higher than...

Green Building Materials: Not 1 But 3 Little Pigs Can Be Winners

Remember the three little pigs and their variously constructed houses, only one of which survived the huffing and puffing of the big bad wolf? Well, modern, eco-aware societies need pigs...

Squeaky Wheel/Diplomat: What Is Needed For A Public Housing Voice

A sprinkling of encouraging notes from several countries might signal a sea change in the treatment of public/social housing tenants. The trend continues for fixing up more of the...

Up In Smoke: Current Fate of UK Proposals For Cannabis Construction

Insulation? It doesn't have to be a manufactured product. It can be grown. Seaweed insulation made from shallow water eel grass once provided an excellent quality of insulation, gathered...

The Green Challenge For Social Housing Apartments (And Others)

What do you think of the changes that will need to happen to your apartment by 2030, whether social housing or free market housing? If you are roughly 79,999th on...

Modern Marie Antoinette’s Poor Housing Tenants: Let Them Eat E-Bikes!

People should only get what they deserve. This "survival of the fittest" mantra has dominated neo-liberal thinking for several decades. It pervades the policies of America's Department of Housing...

Province Ensuring Greater Accessibility In Public Housing

The Canadian Province of British Columbia is evaluating all of BC Housing's homes built since 2019 to determine which units deserve certification as both liveable and accessible. One indication of...

What Might The Butterfly Effect Do For U.S. Public Housing?

This year, 2021, the prestigious international Pritzker prize was awarded to a pair of French architects who specialize in retrofitting old buildings, especially public housing. It has inevitably re-focused interest...

Here’s The Dope On Green Public Housing In Paris

Vegetation, it seems, has a history as effective housing insulation. Straw bale houses were not uncommon as first residences during the settlement of the American WestStraw bale houses are...

Australia Ponders How Community Housing Benefits All, Not Just The Poorest

A recent article in Australia's Fifth Estate explores two important benefits that may accrue in the future from a more active program of building community housing.There's literally a whole world...

Benefits And Challenges of Green Social Housing As Low Income Security For UK

With housing firmly established as suitable gambling chip in the world's stock markets, it is becoming increasingly difficult for those with lower incomes to even rent it, let alone...

Lost In Translation: Warm & Comfortable Tenants After Green Energy Retrofit

Imagine! Spring, in all its greenest finery! Giddy goats gamble on grassy hillsides, the fresh scent of new-mown hay wafts in through the kitchen window between billowing curtains. All the...

Green New Deal For Housing Part 2: Getting To Yes

The Tyee has published a five-part series about a green new deal for housing. The Tyee is based in Vancouver, where housing prices are pricing out more and more...

Green New Deal For Housing Part 1: Connecting Housing Prices And Climate Change

The Tyee has published a five part series about a green new deal for housing. The Tyee is based in Vancouver, where housing prices are beyond the reach of...

Tenants Call For Green Kitchens In NYCHA Buildings

Tenants living in housing owned by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) have come up with a great idea to get the ball rolling on a Green New...

Can Existing Social Housing Go ‘Green’ One Baby Step At A Time?

A local article from a Welsh newspaper paints in one corner of an enormous issue: 'decarbonization' of United Kingdom's social housing. Viewed from America, decarbonization or greening, or energy efficiency,...

Aussie Power Project Turns Social Housing Tenants Into Sun Worshipers

Dismissing a useful future for social housing these days works most dramatically when raising the spectre of high rise projects. President Trump, as part of his 2020 campaign, has...

Whatever Happened To Eel Grass Insulation? The Story So Far

How does removing an existing and undeniably "green" insulating product fit with a commitment to climate-friendly solutions? A recent article about climate-change-sensitive refurbishment of public housing in Nova Scotia contained...

Green Matters: No Single Colour Of Paint Covers AU Tenant Energy Hardship

Energy hardship is a natural outcome of treating rental housing as a commodity, rather than sheltering it under a human rights umbrella. In many modern countries, the owner of...

Green Social Housing: Impossible Dream Or Old News?

One way or another, many feel that social housing is too expensive for America, even as many other nations find ways to utilize this truly affordable form of housing....

Moab Prof Proves It Can Be Done — Energy Efficiency AND Affordability

Climate change is a new reality facing housing. But with heartfelt cries for housing affordability ringing in government ears everywhere, are costly climate-friendly houses forever to be at odds...

Landlords Vs. Climate Change: How Will Renters Weather The Clash?

Australia already appears to be suffering from the dramatic and devastating effects of climate change while being led, like America, by a government that refuses to see any sign...

Time To Recognize The Need For A ‘Green New Deal For Housing?’

At affordablehousingaction.org we've expressed some concern that climate change activists may find themselves competing for limited funding with affordable housing activistsTry: Saving The World One Tree? Affordable House? At...

Will Award Make UK Social Housing Tenants House Proud?

Some council house tenants in Norwich, UK, recently woke to discover they are living in homes with award-winning style. We're not talking about "top of this year's public housing,"...

United Kingdom “BBB” Housing: Boxy But Beautiful, Green But Affordable

A United Kingdom housing project has achieved the unlikely: PassivhausPassivhaus, a tough but voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building. Read more: What Is A Passive House? standards generally...

Plucky Norwich Council Bridges The Energy-Affordability Divide

One of the arguments levelled against energy efficiency in affordable housing is the increased cost of construction. Savings realized through lower energy bills in the long term require higher...

Houses Of The Future? Sticks Win Out Over Huffing And Puffing Wolf.

A seven story wooden structure built in Italy was rated strong enough to withstand a 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, which destroyed some 50,000 houses. Watch It Not Fall...

Supercharged By Boondoggle? Affordable Housing Via The Green New Deal

America faces a bugle call to arms on many fronts such as immigration and terrorism. The call for affordable housing, for all that it is a matter of pressing...

Free Market Affordable Housing: A Unicorn? IKEA & Padsplit Don’t Think So

In no small part, affordable housing is a victim of housing industry propaganda, not actual facts. The housing industry, by and large, sings a two-note song. The high note: luxury...

Resilient City, Toronto Style

"A Resilient Toronto is ... Home. A place where housing is a right, and every resident has a safe, decent, and affordable place to live." Compared with stories that...

Taking NZE (Net Zero Energy) Housing To Those Who Can Least Afford It And Most Need It

The Net Zero Energy industry would have us believe that the those most in need of affordable housing are also those most in need of NZE Housing. And they have...

Still Hope For Public Housing: Milwaukee’s Westlawn Gardens Renewal Wins National Award

According to free market conservatives, American public housing is dead. It was the victim of its socialist anti-free-enterprise roots and of the lower class inhabitants who, in fits of...

When is Affordable Rent Not Affordable? When The ‘Utilities Extra’ Are Too Darn Extra!

Summer's inexpensive apartment in an older building with poor insulation and electric baseboard heating can be completely unaffordable come winter. People looking for bargains at the low end of...

Renewable Energy in Affordable Housing: Sales Gimmick, Or Financial Good Sense?

Progressives in particular are infatuated with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, even as they acknowledge a need for more — much more — affordable housing. What...

Does Older Housing Become Affordable? Is This ‘Filtering Down’ A Planning Truism Or A Myth?

Can academic planning theory take part of the blame for a growing worldwide affordable housing crisis? It has long been proposed (and seems perfectly reasonable on the surface) that...
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