Homes and neighborhoods across the U.S. are ill-prepared for the increasing stresses of climate change, including extreme heat, wildfires, wind and flooding from intense storms, sea level rise, and water shortages. Newly built homes must adhere to stricter building codes, but the vast majority of Americans—especially low- and moderate-income households—live in older homes that were not designed for today’s climate. Energy bills are also a substantial burden for low-income households.

Additionally, residential energy use accounts for 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., which further exacerbates these climate challenges. Developing a strategy to weatherize homes to protect residents’ safety, health, and financial well-being—as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions—must be an essential part of the nation’s overall climate strategy.

Two of the Biden administration’s signature legislative successes—the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act—include substantial new funding to reduce energy use in existing homes and shift them toward cleaner sources of power. As these programs go into effect, policymakers can benefit from looking at the successes and limitations of existing weatherization policies, especially the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).

Read the full article about home weatherization programs by Rebecca Mann and Jenny Schuetz at Brookings.