Actor Edward Norton Urges Congress to Make Affordable Housing Green

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorWashington, D.C.–Edward Norton, actor, director, producer and Enterprise Community Partners trustee, recently testified before the United States House of Representatives select committee on energy independence and global warming.Norton, who is an activist for environmental and affordable housing issues, called on Congress to make a national commitment to bring home the benefits of green building practices to low-income families in their homes a part of comprehensive efforts to fight global warming.“Green and affordable must be one and the same and we need a national commitment,” said Norton, whose grandfather, James Rouse is the Co-founder of Enterprise as well as the designer of the city of Columbia, Md.  Rouse also helped develop Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, Norfolk’s Waterside Festival Marketplace and Boston’s Quincy Market. “Low-income people and communities suffer disproportionately from housing challenges, energy costs and the effects of climate change. We can make progress on all these issues, create green jobs and lock-in long-term environmental benefits by making green affordable homes a national priority.”Norton’s testimony was based on the success to date of the Enterprise Green Communities initiative to create green affordable homes in the country, with more than $570 million invested to support 250 developments with more than 11,000 green affordable units complete or underway.Enterprise data shows that Green Communities developments generate substantial cost savings by lowering energy and water usage, create healthier environments and reduce carbon emissions. These benefits are achievable for only marginally higher costs than otherwise would be the case, according to Enterprise.“Most of the marginally higher costs for going green are attributable to measures that generate financial savings, such as energy- and water-efficiency features,” Norton said. “In other words, they pay for themselves.”Norton called on Congress to take a leadership role in making green and affordable one and the same and outlined Enterprise’s 10-point plan for federal policy-makers, contained in the publication Bringing Home the Benefits of Energy Efficiency to Low-Income Households.The hearing, titled “Building Green, Saving Green: Constructing Sustainable and Energy Efficient Buildings,” focused on how efficient buildings and better building policies can reduce energy costs and cut global warming pollution. Other testimonies came from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom; Kent Peterson, president, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE); and Michelle Moore, senior vice president of policy and marketing development, U.S. Green Building Council.