Understanding Home Energy Use

Honnie is a Senior Energy Engineer for Elevate, a nonprofit that increases access to clean and affordable heat, power, and water for communities that have historically been under-invested in. Honnie works on a program that helps homeowners “electrify” their homes – meaning remove old fossil fuel appliances and replace them with efficient, electric appliances to save energy. In addition to conducting home energy assessments and helping people enroll in these programs, Honnie works hard to help people understand how they use energy at home.  

The Personal Side of Energy Efficiency

Honnie works in the energy field, and she also has a personal connection to using and saving energy. She remembers learning about energy efficiency from her grandmother, a Mexican immigrant to the U.S. Like Honnie and her family, the way people use energy is often inspired by cultural practices and the daily routines they grew up with. 

Who Is Affected by Energy Insecurity?

Honnie earned her Master’s degree in engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology, where she discovered her passion for helping families learn how to reduce their energy use, specifically in communities and neighborhoods that have received less investment in the buildings. Research shows that even though white households have the highest levels of carbon emissions at home, compared to other groups in the U.S., Black households tend to have the highest energy bills. When energy bills are unaffordable to a family, that’s part of energy insecurity. Over half of Black families in the U.S. experience energy insecurity, compared to only about 20% of white families. Federal, state, and local policies are starting to focus on addressing these energy gaps.