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Affordable Apartments Get $100 Million for Energy Efficient Renovations

Some 100 affordable housing developments across the country have been awarded more than $100 million to improve their energy efficiency as part of the federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Green Retrofit Program for Multifamily Housing.

The apartment renovations will be completed with funds provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, according to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.

The 100 awards are expected to create an average energy savings of $33,000 per property, or $3.3 million annually. On average, HUD projects that tenants will save more than $250 each on utility bills annually.

Cathedral Square Senior Living in Burlington, Vt. is among the communities slated for renovation. It was awarded $754,859 to complete renovations using Recovery Act funds, according to HUD regional administrator Richard Walega. The renovations will upgrade 107 affordable apartments, creating jobs in the process.

New boilers, non-toxic paints

In Revere, Mass., $4 million was provided to renovate Jack Satter House, a senior housing development with 266 apartments. The units were built in 1978. The renovations are expected to reduce utility costs by 25%, according to HUD.

The retrofits include providing EnergyStar refrigerators and air conditioners, and replacing old boilers with new, high-efficiency condensing boilers. In addition, the upgrades include installation of a combined heat and power electric co-generation plant.

The units will receive formaldehyde-free bathroom cabinets, and energy efficient lighting, showerheads and toilets. Non-toxic paints, adhesives and sealants will be used in the renovation process.

Altogether, the green retrofit program for multifamily housing is providing $250 million nationally to reduce energy costs, cut water consumption, and improve indoor air quality.

The recently announced awards represent the first 100 grants and loans awarded through the program. The remaining awards will be made through the end of September.

“It is an example of HUD’s ongoing commitment to creating jobs while also building sustainable homes and communities,” said Secretary Donovan in a statement. Through the green retrofit program, the Recovery Act is making a long-term impact on communities by reducing energy costs, creating jobs and improving the quality of life or residents, added Donovan.

Older units targeted

The program aims to retrofit older federally assisted multifamily apartment developments. Grants and loans help private landlords and property management companies cut heating and air conditioning costs such as by installing more efficient heating and cooling systems, and reduce water use.

The Recovery Act funds encourage the use of recycled building materials, reflective roofing, and non-toxic products to reduce ‘off-gassing’ of potentially harmful fumes.

The awards to owners of HUD-assisted housing projects can be used for a wide range of retrofit activities, from windows and doors to solar panels and geothermal installation.

The Recovery Act includes $13.61 billion for projects and programs administered by HUD. Some 99% of HUD’s Recovery Act funds are now in the hands of local communities, being used to improve housing and neighborhoods in some of the areas hardest hit by the nation’s recent recession and ongoing economic slowdown.

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