October 22, 2009

$4 billion for affordable + green homes

Enterprise Community Partners, the affordable-housing giant founded by Jim Rouse, wants to funnel $4 billion in the next five years to affordable housing that's also green. That's what it announced Wednesday, at the same time challenging builders to green up all affordable housing -- including the stuff that's already standing and would have to be renovated.

You can read more about the green affordable-housing initiative here. But once you've done that, I thought you might be interested in checking out what "green" can mean.

Enterprise has set its own criteria, which you can see here (in PDF form). It offers points for some construction choices -- up five for flooring that's neither carpet nor vinyl, 12 for picking a site near public transit, 14 for using materials with recycled content, etc.

But a number of actions are simply required. Low volatile-organic-compound versions of paints, primers, sealants and adhesives. Power-vented fans or range hoods in the kitchen that exhaust directly outdoors, for better indoor air quality. Energy Star appliances.

Enterprise says it has found that its rules add about $4,500 in extra costs per unit, but save $4,850 in utility costs alone over the useful life of the home. Hard to put a price on healthier indoor air, but the nonprofit group says it makes a significant difference for asthma sufferers.

Enterprise's criteria is hardly the only "build green" list out there. Best known is probably the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED for Homes, which Enterprise kept in mind when it redesigned its requirements last year. The National Association of Home Builders has its own green-home criteria, too.

Is there anything green about your home? Any green options you'd like (or not like)?

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 7:00 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Green building
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About Jamie Smith Hopkins
Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Baltimore Sun reporter since 1999, writes about the regional economy. Her reporting on the housing market has won national and local awards. Hopkins is a Columbia native and has lived in Maryland all her life, save for 10 months spent covering schools in Ames, Iowa.
She trained to become a wonk by spending large chunks of time as a geek and an insufferable know-it-all.
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