HUD Announces Important Energy Initiative

HUD's new financing plan for energy efficiency in affordable multifamily housing.

By Robin Nathanson, Associate Editor

Washington, D.C.–Today U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and California Governor Jerry Brown announced joint federal and state efforts to expand financing for solar energy projects and energy efficiency in affordable multifamily housing in California.

These actions are part of President Barack Obama’s promise to focus on climate change and to guarantee a healthy environment for generations to come.  With almost 25 percent of all households in the United States living in multifamily properties improving energy efficiency by 20 percent can help save nearly $7 billion in energy costs each year. It is also possible that 350 million tons of carbon pollution could be reduced in a decade.

Federal support for the adoption of aggressive energy efficiency policies and programs at the local level aid in growing the market for energy efficiency, reducing costs for local governments and addressing a large and growing source of energy use in the United States.

In addition to government funding, the MacArthur Foundation has committed $10 million to further promote energy efficiency and solar energy improvements in affordable multifamily housing.

Currently affordable multifamily housing customers in California now have access to clean solar energy through the California Solar Initiative’s Multifamily Affordable Housing Program (MASH). MASH provides solar incentives on qualifying affordable housing multifamily dwellings.  Building owners can install solar PV systems to offset energy used in their building’s common areas, and receive higher rebates for the energy they share with residents.

The goals of the MASH program include stimulating the adoption of solar power in the affordable housing sector, improving energy utilization and overall quality of affordable housing through the application of solar and energy efficiency technologies, decrease electricity use and costs without increasing monthly household expenses for affordable housing building occupants and increase awareness and appreciation of the benefits of solar among affordable housing occupants and developers.

Energy efficiency acts as an important community development strategy, aiming to provide savings, sustainability, security and resilience.

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