Bennet Announces Push to Cut Waste, Conserve Energy & Create Jobs by Improving Energy Efficiency in Affordable Housing

Bennet Legislation Would Create Market-Based Incentives to Promote, Improve Energy Efficiency in Affordable Housing

Energy Efficiency Modernization Act Would Create Good-Paying Colorado Jobs, Reduce Federal Deficit by Nearly $1.5 Billion

Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, today announced his push to cut waste, conserve energy and create new, good-paying jobs by improving energy efficiency in federally-assisted affordable housing.

Bennet announced his bill, the Energy Efficiency Modernization Act, following a tour of Hirschfeld Towers, a federally-assisted affordable housing unit that recently received energy retrofits that help reduce heating costs by making homes more energy efficient.

The bill would provide a set of market-based incentives to spur federally-assisted housing owners to reduce energy costs in their buildings through a "green dividend program." This program would give these owners the incentive to increase energy efficiency by allowing them to receive a portion of the savings such activities would provide.

In addition, the bill would make funding available for loans to affordable housing owners to retrofit their properties by allowing them to use existing funds to improve energy efficiency in their homes. The cost of this bill is entirely funded by existing funds from excess profits of federally-assisted housing projects. Representative Mary Jo Kilroy has introduced companion legislation in the House.

"If we have the opportunity to create jobs, increase energy efficiency and save over a billion dollars of taxpayer funds - all at the same time - Washington would be more than a little senseless not to seize it," said Bennet. "This is a smart, sensible and market-based solution that will put Coloradans to work in jobs that will help save money and save energy."

A recent study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) spends an estimated $5 billion annually on energy costs to pay for roughly 6 million units of housing, representing almost 17 percent of the nation's rental housing stock.

The Energy Efficiency Modernization Act of 2009 would help reduce energy costs in federally-assisted homes by improving energy efficiency by 25 to 40 percent. It is estimated that the bill could result in savings for HUD at roughly $1 billion to $1.5 billion annually, making the long-term cost savings for the federal government - and, most importantly, taxpayers - substantial.

Industry support includes U.S. Green Building Council, National Housing & Rehabilitation Association, Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future and National Leased Housing Association.