The pandemic has put more pressure on landlords to install new technologies to create efficiency. This is true across property types, but affordable housing—which has lagged behind in technology adoption—stands to benefit significantly from the usage of new technology. With tenants at home more during the pandemic, utility bills are increasing, but landlords have options. New technologies can help to reduce these costs.

"There are many people working from home, doing distance learning, or are out of work—especially those who were in lower paying service jobs," Dave Hodgins, executive director of LA Better Buildings Challenge, tells GlobeSt.com. "Overall, lower income individuals and families have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic crisis. Because they are at home, more energy is needed and subsequently they will have higher utility bills. While it was a crisis before COVID-19 hit, overall, the utility cost burden has become a major issue for even more households." Hodgins recently hosted the eighth annual tech showcase, which focused on technologies for affordable multifamily residential properties.

The solution to this utility burden on affordable properties it undeniably technology. "Now more than ever, implementing technology and modernizing Los Angeles' affordable housing stock is critical because it is putting money back in people's pockets so that they can spend less on utility bills and more on essential necessities," says Hodgins. "How can a child focus on getting schoolwork done if their parent or guardian doesn't want to run the air conditioning because it is too costly? While equity was an issue before the crisis, it is even more visible now. All people need access to energy in order to be more comfortable in their homes."

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on GlobeSt.com and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.