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Meeting the country’s climate goals will require major upgrades to homes and buildings — including multi-family housing.

Installing better windows and weatherproofing can reduce energy use. And converting buildings to run on electricity can eliminate the use of oil and gas.

But Mari Ojeda of Fresh Energy, a clean energy advocacy organization based in Saint Paul, Minnesota, says there are barriers to retrofitting apartments

For one thing, it can be expensive.

“And obviously the bigger the building, the more the project is going to cost and the longer it’s going to take,” Ojeda says. “And that’s going to disturb lots of residents that live in the building.”

Ojeda says financial incentives – such as rebates and tax credits – can help motivate property owners to make the investments.

And she says it’s important to communicate with tenants about how they’ll benefit from the changes.

For example, energy efficiency retrofits can help lower tenants’ utility bills and improve comfort.

“It’s worth the investment to do the outreach, do the engagement, build the relationships,” she says, “because it is important for the well-being of the community, the well-being of the residents within the building.”

And it will help accelerate the transition to clean, efficient buildings.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media