Massachusetts Seeds Green Communities

July 07, 2005

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney unveiled the Massachusetts Green Communities Initiative in Boston on July 7. The initiative is a collaborative between two state agencies and the Enterprise Foundation in Columbia, Maryland, to provide incentives to affordable housing developers to construct 1,000 new "green" homes in Massachusetts. Romney said, "Combining affordable housing and environmentally-friendly smart growth isn't just about dollars and cents. It's about promoting common sense."

Initiative sponsors will make $209 million available to developers in a combination of grants and financing. MassHousing will provide $125 million in mortgage financing. The Enterprise Foundation, which sponsors Green Communities nationwide, will provide $75 million in private equity to developers from the sale of low-income housing tax credits. The foundation will provide another $0.5 million in grants and loans for pre-development work on affordable housing projects that meet its "green" criteria. Affordable housing developers often work on very small margins, and the pre-development planning is often key to making "green" projects that incorporate energy efficiency successful.

The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative will contribute an additional $8.5 million in grants to the project that are designated for including distributed power generating technologies as part of affordable housing. The distributed generation can consist of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, small wind generators, small hydroelectric turbines, and residential fuel cells.

For more information, see the governor's July 7 press release.