Research Report

How High Are Household Energy Burdens? An Assessment of National and Metropolitan Energy Burdens across the U.S.

September 10, 2020
Energy Efficiency Research

This report examines residential energy affordability at the national and regional levels as well as in 25 of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States. We analyze how household energy burdens—the percentage of household income spent on energy bills—vary across specific groups based on factors such as income, housing type and age, tenure, race and ethnicity, and occupant age. Findings demonstrate that high energy burdens are a persistent national challenge We also find that nationally, regionally, and across all metro areas, low-income, Black, Hispanic, Native American, and older adult households had disproportionally higher energy burdens than the average household. We conclude by highlighting weatherization as a long-term strategy that can mitigate high energy burdens, and we explore policy-related strategies to accelerate, improve, and better target low-income housing retrofits, energy efficiency and weatherization.

Research Report

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Suggested Citation
Drehobl, A., L. Ross, and R. Ayala. 2020. How High Are Household Energy Burdens? Washington, DC: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

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Energy Equity Local and Community Initiatives Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs


Ariel Drehobl
Local Policy Manager, Energy Equity
Lauren Ross
Senior Director for Policy
Roxana Ayala
Senior Research Analyst, Local Policy

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Ben Somberg
Communications Director
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