The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s Energy Star program and Freddie Mac have signed an agreement that will help to cut carbon pollution while increasing the affordability of multifamily housing properties.
In support of the president's Climate Action Plan, the memorandum of understanding outlines strategies to make multifamily housing more affordable by encouraging building owners and tenants to benchmark their energy and water performance and take steps to improve efficiency. Among those strategies are the following:
– Freddie Mac will explore the collection of energy and water performance data from property owners during the loan underwriting and asset management processes.
– By demonstrating the financial value of energy and water efficiency to lenders and borrowers, Freddie Mac hopes to be able to influence lending practices in ways that encourage investments in energy efficiency and make multifamily housing units more affordable.
– EPA will assist Freddie Mac with these and other goals by providing technical and educational support in the use of the Energy Star Portfolio Manager energy management and tracking tool, as well as other Energy Star resources.
"We are looking at how energy efficiency improves the financial viability of the apartments we finance and, most importantly, its impact on the affordability of rental housing,’ comments Mitchell Resnick, Freddie Mac Multifamily vice president of loan pricing and securitization.
Freddie Mac reports that roughly one-third of Americans live in apartments within multifamily buildings, spending approximately $22 billion on energy every year, and that rising energy costs are contributing to the decline in affordability.
The company says housing industry studies have projected that multifamily properties can become 30% more efficient by 2020, unlocking $9 billion in energy savings and preventing more than 35 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
The president's Climate Action Plan calls for helping multifamily buildings cut waste and becoming at least 20% more energy efficient by 2020. The EPA has already been working with Fannie Mae and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in meeting this goal.