New Traction on Energy Efficiency Programs for Manufactured Homes in Southeastern U.S.
The following narrative is an excerpt from a comprehensive blog titled “Energy Efficiency in the Southeast” report, published March 2023. The report analyzes and cites the need for manufactured housing energy performance upgrades.
The report admittingly conflates “mobile home” and “manufactured home” energy deficiencies in their compilation of lower energy standards. In fact, it wasn’t until 1994 that major changes were made to the HUD Code that significantly improved the requirements for energy efficiency in manufactured homes.
The Southeast has the highest concentration of manufactured homes in the country. Of the 8.4 million manufactured homes (mobile homes) in the U.S., 2.9 million are in the Southeast (about 35% of the national total). Since the United States is in the middle of an affordable housing crisis, in many places manufactured homes are filling the gap. But until recently, Southeastern utilities have failed to serve the unique energy efficiency needs of families in manufactured homes.
A Turning Point for Manufactured Homes Efficiency Programs In Georgia
Acting on the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy’s (SACE’s) recommendation in its 2022 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) proceeding, the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) recently directed Georgia Power to set aside $1.5 million over the next three years specifically for efficiency projects in manufactured homes/ mobile homes. The program will retrofit existing manufactured homes (mobile homes) with energy efficiency improvements as part of the broader Home Energy Improvement Program. Each year, the utility will separately identify spending and savings for manufactured homes participating in its efficiency program. Georgia Power representatives have noted that the program is expected have noted that the program is expected to be very cost-effective, producing between $1.60 – $1.80 in energy savings for each program dollar spent. Not only will this program bring needed financial benefits to manufactured housing residents, but the program also includes the utility’s total cost of supplying power to all customers.
This is important progress for Georgia, which has the fifth-highest total of manufactured homes in the country. Nevertheless, there is still more opportunity going forward. The commission’s 2022 approval of the manufactured homes retrofit program was a big step in the right direction, but the Commission did not act on a second component of SACE’s manufactured home program recommendation, which would have provided incentives for the purchase of highly efficient new manufactured homes and the replacement of units that cannot reasonably be improved through retrofits. Such programs have been successfully deployed in other jurisdictions.
Manufactured Homes/Mobile Homes in the Southeast by State/ Percent of Mfd Homes U.S./ National Rank
Florida – 831,641 – 10% – 1
No. Carolina – 581,328 – 7% – 3
Georgia – 373,960 – 4% – 5
So. Carolina – 367,358 – 4% – 6
Alabama – 296,231 – 4% – 8
Tennessee – 267,878 – 3% – 10
Mississippi – 196,763 – 14% – 14
Southeast – 2,915,132 35%