HUD Wants To Green Low Income Housing

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has done a lot in terms of retrofitting federal buildings for increased energy efficiency. Now, it’s extended funding towards energy efficiency at the grassroots level, through the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan recently announced that 100 affordable housing developments, including 8,112 homes, around the country have been awarded more than $100 million to complete energy efficient renovations with Recovery Act funds.

The awards are part of HUD’s Green Retrofit Program for Multifamily Housing program, created through the Recovery Act, which provides $250 million nationally to reduce energy costs, cut water consumption, and improve indoor air quality while providing green jobs for American workers. The awards announced today represent the first 100 grants and loans awarded through the program; the remaining awards will be made on a rolling basis from now through September 30, 2010.

HUD Green

image via White House

These renovations will be focused on upgrades to thousands of affordable apartments, creating an average energy savings of $33,000 per property, or $3.3 million annually, and saving individual tenants, on average, $250 per person. These savings come via reduced energy costs resulting from the installation of more efficient heating and cooling systems, and reduced water use such as by replacing faucets and toilets. Recovery Act funds also encourage the use of recycled building materials, reflective roofing, and non-toxic products to reduce ‘off-gassing’ of potentially harmful fumes. Funds are awarded to owners of HUD-assisted housing projects and can also be used for a wide range of other retrofit activities, such as replacing windows/doors or installing solar panels and geothermal systems.

“I am proud to announce this significant Recovery Act milestone because it is an example of HUD’s ongoing commitment to creating jobs while also building sustainable homes and communities,” said Secretary Donovan, in a statement. “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.”  A complete list of Recovery Act Green Retrofit Program awards being issued today can be viewed in full here.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.