The Obama Administration last week launched Green Refinance Plus, a new program sprung from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that encourages energy-efficient retrofits of thousands of affordable homes. A joint effort between the Federal Housing Administration and Fannie Mae, Green Refinance Plus will help owners of older affordable multifamily properties to go green while refinancing their mortgages at today’s historically low interest rates, according to Shaun Donovan, Secretary for Housing and Urban Development.
Nearly a third of HUD’s Recovery Act funds can be used for making America’s affordable housing stock more efficient, Donovan says. “With these funds, we are on track to provide 245,000 affordable homes with a range of energy improvements, while another 55,000 receive green retrofits that will save up to 40 percent in energy costs.”
While FHA provides additional insurance coverage for the program, Fannie Mae will provide loan underwriting that will generate additional loan proceeds to make green improvements. A typical development will be able to access a loan with what amounts to a 5 percent premium to use for efficiency improvements. For a $5 million loan, that means an additional $250,000 will be available to support green systems and appliances, Donovan says.