By Kevin Chiu
A green energy program for single family housing has been supplemented with a program for apartments, providing $250 million to reduce energy costs nationally. The government program provides up to 30% tax credits for homeowners to take advantage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The funding is part of the Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Green Retrofit Program for Multifamily Housing, created for the first time. The program is providing funds to reduce energy costs, cut water consumption, and improve indoor air quality. The grants provide funding for energy savings upgrades to apartments in more than two dozen U.S. states.
Some 8,112 homes have received energy efficient upgrades through the first $100 million of the program with Recovery Act funds. The Green Retrofit Program is designed to create thousands of green jobs as workers retrofit older federally assisted multi-family apartments with the next generation of energy efficient technologies, including new doors, improved insulation and upgraded appliances. The renovations are credited by the Obama administration for not only saving homeowners on their utility bills, but also for developing jobs.
The 100 awards targeted at apartment developments will create an average energy savings of $33,000 per property, or $3.3 million annually, according to a government study. On average tenants will save more than $250 each on utility bills annually.
“The Green Retrofit Program is just one example of how the Recovery Act is making a long-term impact on American families and communities by reducing energy costs, creating quality green jobs and improving the quality of life for people across the country,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.
Grants provided through the program help landlords and property management companies to cut heating and air conditioning costs by installing more efficient heating and cooling systems, and to reduce water consumption by replacing faucets and toilets. Recovery Act funds also produce other environmental benefits encouraging the use of recycled building materials, reflective roofing, and non-toxic products to reduce potentially harmful fumes.
The Recovery Act included $13.61 billion for projects and programs administered by HUD, 75% of which was allocated to state and local recipients shortly after President Barack Obama signed the act into law. The remaining 25% is being awarded through competitive grant programs.