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Green Affordable Housing
Jamais Cascio, 7 Feb 06

For the moment, high-efficiency, renewable energy housing -- at least in the United States -- is realistically only available to upper-middle-class homeowners. People in "affordable housing" developments, even new ones, rarely have access to super-efficient windows and insulation or rooftop solar. The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative wants to change that, and has launched a program to provide grants to green affordable housing projects.

This solicitation invites grant applications for:

  • Development and administration of a funding program to incorporate renewable energy, energy efficiency, and green design into affordable housing developments
  • Development of a state-of-the-art, green affordable housing development that incorporates renewable energy
  • Development of an operational plan that will lead to a program incorporating renewable energy, energy efficiency, and green design as part of affordable housing development

The Green Affordable Housing Grant program has just started, but has a quick deadline -- interested participants have until March 23 to get their proposals in.

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This is starting to happen in Maine too. The Maine State Housing Authority is currently sponsoring an affordable, mainstream, green housing contest. The deadline is March 18 and the winners will be announced soon after - stay tuned!

While low cost is important, low total cost is what matters. No one writes one check for a house: there's a mortgage check, an energy check, a maintenance and depreciation check, etc. What we want is for the sum of those checks to be affordable. Sometimes I need the mortgage check to go up by say, $100 a month, in order to get the other checks to go down by say, $180 a month. Then, it's rational to spend more building the house, because I'm going to reap more than that in reduced operating and maintenance costs. Obvious really, but lots of folks don't immediately see it.

Posted by: David Foley on 7 Feb 06



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