Greening the Affordable Housing Business Model

    Enterprise Community Partners has formed the National Multifamily Energy Services Collaborative intended to “design and implement a full suite of green services to help older multifamily properties realize the significant health, economic and environmental benefits of green housing.”  The collaborative, a partnership between Enterprise, the Center for Neighborhood Technology Energy, LINC Housing and the Hispanic Housing Development Corporation, is part of a multi-year, multi-billion dollar Green Communities initiative that seeks to green all affordable housing by 2020.

    The collaborative will “pilot businesses to make it easier for owners of multifamily properties nationwide to realize the significant health, economic, and environmental benefits of green housing,” according to a statement from Enterprise last week. Enterprise leveraged and matched a recent grant award of $2.8 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Energy Innovation Fund with public, private and philanthropic funding for the $12 million program.

    This is good news because it could provide a new service delivery model that can be replicated and taken to scale. The services, according to Enterprise, will range from improvements made through operations and property maintenance practices to complete retrofits of multifamily properties, which could reduce energy consumption.

    In the fall 2011 issue of Shelterforce, we published a series of articles that examined how the goals of creating a more just society and strengthening local economies (saving taxpayers money in the process) could be pursued in tandem by way of green design. This effort out of Enterprise, in our estimation, is huge step in the right direction in meeting those goals, allowing affordable housing owners and residents to increase the efficient use of energy in their properties.


    Matthew Brian Hersh served as senior editor at Shelterforce from March 2008 to October 2012. He studied English at Rutgers University and has spent his professional career in journalism, policy, and politics.


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