Green Affordable Housing Advances in Congress

Washington, DC (September 26, 2007)- U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-7), lead the charge to include more energy efficiency standards in a bill reauthorizing the HOPE VI public housing program (H.R. 3524). In the September 26, 2007, House Financial Services Committee markup, Perlmutter, as chair of the Financial Services Committee Energy Efficiency Task Force, spearheaded the inclusion of provisions requiring public housing authorities to institute Green Communities, LEED, or other similarly approved energy efficiency building standards, in all new public housing developments built in accordance with the HOPE VI public housing program. This ACT sponsored legislation is the first time federal legislation has referenced Green Communities.

Perlmutter stated, “I am pleased to see these important provisions included in the HOPE VI legislation. Quite simply, instituting these principles in all facets of our lives is good for national security, good for the climate and good for jobs. Our Energy Efficiency Task Force has been working throughout the summer to develop ways to promote energy efficiency throughout the financial services and housing sectors encouraging individuals to buy and build in an energy efficient manner.”
The HOPE VI program is a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant program providing for the rehabilitation and rejuvenation of distressed public housing projects. The program was created in 1992.
Perlmutter was asked by Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank to head an Energy Efficiency task force for the committee and also to work to keep these key energy efficiency provisions in the HOPE VI housing bill. Perlmutter and members of the Energy Efficiency Task Force also are working on another legislative package promoting energy efficiency standards for the committee.
Rep. Bob Olver (D-MA), chair of the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds affordable housing programs, introduced the bipartisan bill, H.R. 2536 to reauthorize the HOPE VI revitalization program that would require Green Communities Criteria for all housing, and U.S. Green Building Council standards for non-residential buildings in HOPE VI projects.
The Alliance for Community Trees is encouraging trees to be included in this bill. Trees compliment affordable housing well in several ways including:
Higher property values
Property values of homes with trees in the landscape are 5-20 percent higher than equivalent properties without trees. 4000 trees in yards would increase the sales price of homes by 1 percent, plus increase the property values as much as 10%. That is an estimated annual increase in homes sale value of $10.4 million.
Energy savings
Trees lower the temperature through shade. The cooling effects of trees can save millions of energy dollars. 3-4 shade trees located strategically around a house can cut summer cooling costs by 30-50 percent. For one million trees, that’s $10 million in energy savings.
Congress is developing energy and affordable housing tax bills that could contain incentives for energy efficient affordable housing. ACT is working with House and Senate leaders to develop proposals for inclusion in these bills.
May 24, 2007- Introduced and referred to Financial Services
June 19, 2007- ACT met with Financial Services Energy Taskforce
September 26, 2007- Bill cleared Energy Efficiency Taskforce Markup. HOPE VI bill now moves to the floor for full House consideration.
Related Resources:
House Appropriations Sub. on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development
Rep. Ed Perlmutter
H.R. 3524