Transforming Communities: How Natural Gas Utilities Help Build Affordable & Sustainable Housing

  • Adam Kay
  • With employees drawn from local communities and a mission to provide safe, affordable and reliable energy to customers, America’s natural gas utilities are cornerstones of their communities. AGA members spend $4.3 million every single day on programs to help their customers weatherize their homes or buy more efficient appliances. This investment in customers and communities makes a difference by helping lower their monthly energy bills. But what about the most vulnerable members of our communities?

    AGA member companies like Atmos Energy are working with partner organizations like Habitat for Humanity to build safe and affordable homes for low-income families with their Zero Net Energy (ZNE) home program. Per Atmos, “A ZNE home is designed to produce as much energy as it consumes within a year, which results in net zero energy consumption. Our ZNE homes will include high efficiency natural gas heating, water heating, incorporating building envelope efficiency, and installing solar technology to make the home extremely efficient and environmentally responsible.”

    The homes built for these projects frequently make use of the most advanced energy technologies for natural gas and electricity alike, resulting in homes that have minimal energy bills for the homeowners, and that can have significantly reduced emissions while preserving the numerous advantages natural gas offers. As Atmos Energy VP Darwin Stamport makes clear, getting the maximum efficiency from natural gas appliances and including top-rated building materials are the keys to their approach to  lowering emissions and customer utility bills.

    “Any ZNE home building envelope has to be extremely tight – it has to be a lot more well insulated than what you see on your standard home,” said Darwin Stamport, Atmos Energy vice president of marketing for the Mid-Tex division. “And then we install high-efficiency natural gas appliances incorporating the latest technology, with different appliances in each of the homes, depending on the area. It’s a partnership with all energy sources—whether it’s solar, wind, gas—that will get us to the place we need to be down the road in terms of reliability and affordability.”

    By building safe, affordable and environmentally friendly homes for low-income customers, AGA member companies like Atmos are continuing to give back to their communities while demonstrating that natural gas is an essential part of an affordable and sustainable home.