Saud Anwar

State Senator

Saud Anwar

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working For You

May 27, 2021

Senator Anwar Joins Senate To Support Legislation Establishing Energy Efficiency Retrofit Grant Program For Affordable Housing

Today, State Senator Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor) voted in support with his colleagues in the State Senate to pass legislation creating an energy efficiency retrofit grant program that will serve to fund upgrades to affordable housing in Connecticut that will help families save on their utility bills and provide additional protection against health risks such as gas leaks, mold, and air pollution. The bill now moves to the state House of Representatives for further action. Sen. Anwar is Vice Chair of the Housing Committee.

“We are far behind in having enough affordable housing in Connecticut, and some existing homes have indoor air and energy efficiency challenges,” said Sen. Anwar. “Having an energy efficiency retrofit grant program will allow us to rehabilitate housing needing help from an environmental and energy perspective while giving options to our workforce and our state in affordable housing.”

Senate Bill 356, “An Act Establishing an Energy Efficiency Retrofit Grant Program for Affordable Housing,” directs the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to develop an energy efficiency retrofit grant program by September 1, 2021. The program would award funds for energy efficiency and weatherization upgrades to affordable housing, including housing authority property. These upgrades can include but are not limited to: installation of rooftop solar photovoltaic panels, heat pumps, balanced ventilation, and other devices to reduce negative health effects of mold, gas leaks, asbestos, radon, and lead.

Individuals interested in receiving a grant would apply to the commissioner of DEEP. The application would ask for a description of the proposed project, detail the anticipated benefits the project would have due to the energy efficient upgrades, and the applicant’s technical and financial ability to handle the project, and a project budget.

Grants will be prioritized to applicants that:

  • Will upgrade affordable housing for households that include someone who qualifies for utility financial hardship programs or receives means-tested assistance from the state or federal government
  • Use local contractors that pay the prevailing wage
  • Make good faith efforts to hire available and qualified Connecticut minority business enterprises – an independent, small contractor owned by women, people of color, or people with disabilities

The grant program would be financed by federal funds and other received funds from parties, such as associations and corporations.

Senate Bill 356 received the support of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV). Emily Alexander, a Climate Policy Advocate for the CTLCV noted in her testimony the benefits of the program for low-income and distressed communities when it comes to health and hardship in paying utility bills. She testified, “These communities are most at risk for air pollution causing lung and heart diseases, and often struggle with utility bills. SB 356 helps to bridge the equity gap that exists between high and low-income communities by allowing savings on utility bills and addressing public health concerns.”