Home thermal security, energy equity and the social production of heat in manufactured housing

Mark Kear, Margaret O. Wilder, Karina G. Martinez-Molina, Laura McCann, Dugan Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article contributes to theoretical understandings of the relationships among extreme heat vulnerability, energy equity and home thermal security (HTS) – the ability to maintain a home thermal environment consistent with basic health, social and financial needs. Based on three years of mixed-methods qualitative research among social service practitioners, landlords and residents of mobile and manufactured housing (MH) communities, we argue that thermal insecurity is a socially produced, rather than intrinsic, feature of MH. We use the thermal struggles of MH residents to illustrate how gaps in research, markets, landlord-tenant law, policy, and specific government programs overlap to produce MH as a site of hyper-exclusion from many tools used to mitigate and adapt to climate risk. We find that most MH residents, despite barriers and a warming climate, are able to maintain some level of HTS. We highlight the small-scale, improvisational strategies that households use to cope and adapt to the extreme temperatures. HTS is an achievement sustained by a variety of elements that cannot be reduced to simple metrics (e.g., presence of air conditioning). We conclude with a practical set of policy recommendations as well as a call for an expansive “climate finance” that includes the improvisational practices of excluded groups as innovations worth learning from and investing in.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103318
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Climate change
  • Energy equity
  • Extreme heat
  • Home thermal security, energy poverty
  • Manufactured housing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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