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Posted about 1 month ago

Housing Inequity Solution Needed in Worcester?

I love the spirit of Jeuji Diamondstone and her dedication to helping renters and improving their housing conditions. With 58% of households in Worcester renting, it's crucial to address their situation. Worcester's housing stock is very old, and most of the three-deckers are heated by gas. Some of these heating systems are over 80 years old.

Jeuji hopes to see these housing units updated with heat pumps. She believes this switch will lower energy costs. However, we need to be cautious about unintended consequences when changing policies. Many heating systems are still working perfectly fine and should be left alone, while the older ones probably need replacement.

Remember the "Cash for Clunkers" program from 2009? Many traded in perfectly functioning cars for a rebate. As it turned out, the best car for the environment was likely the one we were already driving, considering the environmental cost of manufacturing a new one. The same logic might apply to heating systems.

I've spoken with many landlords who have installed heat pumps, and their tenants complain about the higher costs compared to natural gas. Whether this will change over time is something we need to monitor.

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