AG Balderas Joins States in Urging the U.S. Department of Energy to Adopt Energy Efficiency Standards for Manufactured Houses

Contact: Jerri Mares (505) 321-4372

Santa Fe, NM – Attorney General Hector Balderas has joined several states in urging
the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to adopt cost-effective energy efficiency
standards for manufactured houses (commonly known as mobile homes). In a letter
submitted in response to an August 2021 DOE proposal, the states, along with local
government officials, request that DOE apply minimum energy standards across the
board, including to the lowest priced homes. DOE has proposed two potential
approaches – uniform minimum standards for all models, or a “tiered” approach that
would apply less stringent standards for units below a certain price threshold.
“Living in low income housing and mobile homes throughout my childhood in Wagon
Mound, I have felt the burden of unpredictable energy costs,” said Attorney General
Balderas. “New Mexico has twice the national average of manufactured homes and
while they are an affordable housing option for many New Mexicans, higher energy
costs should not be imposed on Consumers trapping them in a cycle of debt.”
The proposed rules are in response to a Congressional mandate in the Energy
Independence and Security Act of 2007. Manufactured housing accounts for about six
percent of all homes in the United States. Because the average energy cost per square
foot of a manufactured home is 70% higher than a site-built home, applying energy
efficiency standards to them would save households billions of dollars in energy costs,
while reducing the carbon footprint of this important sector of the affordable housing
market. The standards imposed by the rule will vary according to climate zone.
The comments also point to evidence in analyses performed by DOE and by affordable
housing experts showing that manufactured houses will remain affordable for the lowest
income buyers under a non-tiered rule. This is due in part to the availability of federal
and state tax incentives and loan assistance to these buyers, and in part to the fact that
homes are typically owned for longer than the period required for energy cost savings to
exceed the increase in purchase price, which is a little more than 10 years on average.