Undergraduate Engaged Research Grants

High Energy Cost Burdens for Low-to-Moderate Income Rentals in Tompkins County

In a region with relatively long cold seasons, energy costs of living comfortably are a serious concern for many Tompkins County residents, especially low-to-moderate income renters. Due to poor infrastructure, knowledge gaps and fixed incomes, they often struggle with high energy cost burdens. To assess and highlight this issue, a group of Cornell students collaborate with Sustainable Tompkins, a community organization, to survey and interview up to 500 low-to-moderate income residents. The collected data strengthen Sustainable Tompkins’s advocacy for energy-efficiency policies, such as the Home Energy Rating and Disclosure (HERD) project, to aid low-to-moderate income residents with their high energy cost burdens. The student researchers also aid community residents with applications for LIHEAP, a federal program to help pay for heating bills.

The Team

  • Christopher Barrett, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
    College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and SC Johnson College of Business
  • Howard Chong, School of Hotel Administration
    SC Johnson College of Business
  • Sara Hwong ’18, environmental and sustainability sciences major
    College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Kelly Strohm ’17, environmental and sustainability sciences major
    College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Community partner: Sustainable Tompkins

Undergraduate Engaged Research Grants

Expanding the number of students involved in established community-engaged research.

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