HUD Panel Discusses Implications of Green Retrofit Program During Recovery Act in Action Week

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By Erika Schnitzer, Associate EditorWashington, D.C.—As part of its “Recovery Act in Action” Week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is examining its role in implementing President Obama’s plans to stimulate the American economy with energy-efficient measures, neighborhood stabilization and job creation.At a Webcast held yesterday afternoon, members of the Department discussed […]

By Erika Schnitzer, Associate EditorWashington, D.C.—As part of its “Recovery Act in Action” Week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is examining its role in implementing President Obama’s plans to stimulate the American economy with energy-efficient measures, neighborhood stabilization and job creation.At a Webcast held yesterday afternoon, members of the Department discussed and provided insight on the Green Retrofit program, which will provide $250 million in grants and loans for up to 25,000 apartment units to become more energy-efficient within the next two years.  (Click here for MHN’s coverage of the program).The Webcast panel included Jerry Anderson, HUD associate deputy assistant secretary; Charles Wilkens, principal of The Compass Group LLC; Beverly Miller, director of multifamily asset management at HUD; and Bill Hill, director of policy and participation standards at HUD. Ted Toon, HUD deputy assistant secretary, moderated.The program, which will offer up to $15,000 per unit for energy-efficient improvements, will benefit owners by making properties more efficient in its operations, as well as allow them to share in future utility savings that are generated through the rehabilitation of the properties through the program, Toon explained.In addition, Toon noted that the program creates owner incentives, as no out-of-pocket contribution is required from owners. As a pre-development incentive, 1 percent of the green retrofit, to a maximum of $10,000, will be paid at the closing of the grant or loan and 3 percent, up to $30,000, will be paid upon satisfactory completion of the retrofit.HUD will begin accepting applications—which includes a feasibility assessment, 15 owner certifications and eight owner commitments, including that each recipient of a loan or grant will provide at least an additional 15 years of affordability—for the program on June 15. Eligible applicants must be HUD-assisted.Under the program, owners may choose to apply for either a loan or a grant. Owners eligible for the grant include those who have Section 202 projects, Section 811 projects, and/or nonprofit owners of projects with resident-paid utilities for at least heat and lights. All other owners may be offered a loan.While owners applying for the grants and loans do not need to decide which retrofits they will undertake at their properties prior to applying, those that are chosen will work with participating administrative entities (PAEs) to determine which investments are most important. Properties will undergo physical condition assessments, energy audits and integrated pest management inspections. Through the green retrofit underwriting, there are 24 green alternatives for items that have 15 percent or less remaining useful life, including refrigerators, dishwashers, HVAC systems, water heaters, windows, sliding glass doors, storm doors, exterior doors, ceiling fans and exhaust fans, all of which would be replaced with their Energy Star-rated equivalents.Because the essence of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is to have the dollars working as quickly and as efficiently as possible–with more people working, benefiting the entire economic structure–the process is swift. HUD anticipates a 120-day period from the time applications are accepted, sent to PAEs and approved, Anderson stated.The green building approach is the beginning of a new way of doing business at HUD, noted Ted Toon, deputy assistant secretary and Webcast moderator.Also important to note is that HUD will be holding meetings with residents of applicable communities to ensure they understand the retrofits that will be performed, said Anderson.”Recovery Act in Action” Week includes three days of Webcasts to provide education and technical assistance on HUD’s ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) programs. Sixteen HUD Field Offices will host “Housing Parties” throughout the country for stakeholders and grantees to view the Webcasts.Click here to view HUD’s GRP Final Notice.

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