It’s easy enough to make fancy new homes energy-efficient, but what about the millions of poorly-insulated American houses that are already standing? And what about future homeowners and renters who can’t afford the upgrades to expensive insulation and rooftop solar panels? Enterprise Community Partners, an affordable housing developer, plans to raise $4 billion to make a dent in the problem by building and retrofitting 75,000 residential, commercial, and community buildings over the next five years.
It’s an ambitious fundraising effort, but Enterprise has already been given a $1.5 million kickstart from the Home Depot Foundation and $1 million in grants from the Kresge Foundation and the Kendeda Fund. Other companies that plan to help out include Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Living Cities.
Enterprise’s plan is part of the organization’s larger vision to make everything it touches green by 2013. But there’s more to it than saving energy. The state of the economy combined with rising energy costs means that residents of affordable housing developments are having an increasingly difficult time paying the bills–and Enterprise’s green developments can deliver savings of 20 to 30%, according to the organization’s new Incremental Cost, Measurable Savings: Enterprise Green Community Criteria report. Those savings also justify the increased upfront cost of building green developments.
Enterprise’s green retrofit plan will be at least partially helped by Joe Biden’s “Recovery Through Retrofit” initiative, which aims to create a home energy efficiency retrofit industry.