A collaborative initiative between nonprofits and other groups plans to provide free training on jumpstarting energy upgrades for affordable housing.

The program, dubbed Residential Retrofits for Energy Equity, or R2E2, is aimed at state, local and tribal governments, plus community-based organizations. With “unprecedented federal funding” available from spending packages such as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, the organizers say they would offer guidance on affordable housing energy retrofits related to financing, economic inclusion, engaging with community groups to ensure proposals meet needs and navigating the affordable housing sector.

The R2E2 effort is led by the nonprofit groups American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy, Elevate and Emerald Cities Collaborative, plus the firm HR&A Advisors.

Making energy retrofits in affordable housing can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create good-paying jobs, improve residents’ health while lowering their utility bills and advancing racial equity, the organizers say. The goal is to address housing affordability, energy security and climate change, which ACEEE says disproportionately impact Native American, Black and Hispanic households. They pay an average of 20-45% more of their incomes on energy bills than white households but are less likely to receive energy upgrades, a 2020 ACEEE report found.

“Our transition to an energy-efficient economy must include underinvested communities that have been most impacted by our history of environmental injustice,” said Meishka Mitchell, president and CEO of Emerald Cities Collaborative, in a statement.

The initiative’s first trainings will be held via a two-day virtual summit Jan. 19-20, 2023. Anyone interested can register on ACEEE’s website.