G.R.E.E.N Act Passes House

By Anuradha Kher, Online News Editor Washington, D.C.–The House last week passed the Green Resources for Energy Efficiency Act (the G.R.E.E.N. Act, H.R. 6078) as part of the Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 6889) by a vote of 236 to 189.The G.R.E.E.N. Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (Colo.), aims to strengthen the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) commitment to energy efficiency while providing needed flexibility.  “The Act instigates a demonstration program of 25,000 units, which will study the cost-efficiency of going green and this will be extremely valuable,” Linda Couch, deputy director of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, tells MHN. “It will also give private owners resources that they might not have to implement energy efficiency.”The bill is expected incentivize major financial institutions, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) to finance energy-efficient homes affordable to families with low incomes; promote energy-efficient and location-efficient mortgages; ensure nonprofit affordable housing developers have the capacity to build green; authorize an energy efficiency and conservation demonstration program for project-based Section 8 multifamily housing developments and establish a revolving loan fund for states and tribes to help homeowners and apartment building owners improve energy efficiency through renewable energy and other methods. “The bill does a very good job of thinking through the greening of affordable housing. It is a well-rounded bill that takes into account not only greening but also health of the residents,” adds Couch.Rep. Perlmutter says, “This legislation proves it is easy to be green. The G.R.E.E.N. Act measures will help revitalize our economy by making energy efficiency practices more affordable, accessible and achievable by consumers, businesses and government entities. By prioritizing energy efficiency practices, we can ease the woes of homeowners, lenders, financial markets, builders and our environment.”Doris W. Koo, president and CEO of Enterprise Community Partners, says. “The G.R.E.E.N. Act provisions of the bill aptly recognize and incentivize the need for the Federal Housing Administration and financial institutions to invest in energy-efficient affordable housing.”The bill will now go to the Senate for a vote. Couch expects that the bill has a good chance of passing through but might get held up due to some other disagreements over drilling, which is part of the larger bill.