GREEN Act for Affordable Housing Introduced

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorWashington, D.C.– Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) today introduced the H.R. 6078, the Green Resources for Energy Efficient Neighborhoods Act of 2008.If passed, the legislation would raise the bar for environmental performance in affordable housing, authorizing new federal resources for green affordable development while providing incentive to the private sector to invest in green affordable homes for low-income people.Doris Koo (pictured), president and CEO of Enterprise Community Partners, testified before the House Financial Services Committee, at a hearing on this. “We commend Rep. Perlmutter for his leadership and vision in developing this bill, as well as the House Financial Services Committee’s attention to this critically important issue. This legislation thoughtfully builds on lessons learned through the Enterprise Green Communities initiative, which seeks to bring the benefits of sustainable development to low-income people and communities.” According to Enterprise, home energy costs have increased much faster than incomes for very low-income households in recent years, rising 33 percent since 1998. Families earning $20,000 to $50,000 spend nearly half their incomes on housing and transportation costs combined. And residential units consume 22 percent of the nation’s energy and cause 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.“This legislation proves that it is easy to be green. This bill helps revitalize our economy by making energy efficiency practices more affordable, accessible and achievable by consumers, businesses and government entities,” said Rep. Perlmutter at the hearing. In her testimony, Koo underscored the linkage among housing, transportation, health and environmental challenges facing low-income families. “Affordable green development can make progress toward improving low-income families’ health and wealth while simultaneously tackling climate change by making the places where low-income people live more energy efficient and environmentally sustainable. The federal government must act swiftly and boldly to help make energy efficiency the mainstream in affordable housing.”Several others, including Marshall E. Purnell, president of American Institute of Architects, Jerry Howard, president, National Association of Homebuilders and Tom Hicks, vice president, International Programs and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development, U.S. Green Building Council, were expected to testify at the hearing.