This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

December 02, 2009

Affordable Green Housing Gets Boost from Billion-Dollar Funds

Two nonprofit organizations recently launched billion-dollar programs to boost affordable green housing. Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., a national nonprofit focusing on community development and affordable housing, announced on October 8 a $4 billion commitment to the next generation of its Green Communities initiative. Enterprise said its efforts will result directly in the creation, preservation, or retrofit of 75,000 green homes and community and commercial buildings over the next five years. The group will provide loans to owners of existing multifamily buildings in key markets for capital purchases that will reduce energy and water consumption or will lead to more healthy living environments. Enterprise relies on support from a number of banks and foundations, and it is currently drawing on $2.5 million in grants for fundraising.

Enterprise also issued a national call to action to make all affordable housing in the United States meet green criteria by 2020. To provide background, the organization released a study proving the overall return on investment of meeting its Green Communities Criteria. Based on years of research, the report, "Incremental Cost, Measurable Savings: Enterprise," finds that the estimated lifetime savings exceed the initial investment made to incorporate the Green Communities Criteria into affordable housing during construction. See the Enterprise press release (PDF 68 KB), the report, and the Web site for Enterprise Green Communities. Download Adobe Reader.

A more local effort was launched on September 30, as the New York-based Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), a nonprofit affordable housing lender, announced a new public-private partnership to provide $1 billion in construction and mortgage loans for energy-efficient upgrades and property retrofits. The loans will go to owners of affordable multifamily rental units and coops in New York State. CPC said it would identify needed energy efficiency improvements for each building through an energy audit. The goal is to increase fuel and electrical efficiency of existing apartment buildings by 20% or more, with the financing of retrofits for up to 15,000 apartments over the next few years. CPC is drawing on funds from Freddie Mack, New York State and New York City public employee pension funds, private lenders, and other lending institutions. See the CPC press release and the CPC Web page for the Green Financing Initiative.

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