POLICY Agenda

The Green Affordable Housing Coalition is a national action network that fosters collaboration and advocates for the development and preservation of green affordable housing. The Coalition is a platform through which member organizations can disseminate information, discuss details of key policy proposals and organize outreach and advocacy efforts. Certain activities (such as outreach campaigns and sign-on letters) related to specific legislative and regulatory initiatives reflect the positions of the organizations that explicitly endorse those activities, rather than the official position of the Coalition as a whole. Coalition members support administrative and legislative actions at the federal, state and local levels that support the development, preservation and rehabilitation of green, healthy and location-efficient affordable housing, including:

Legislation and appropriations

  • On June 9, 2011, members of the Coalition sent a letter to Congressional appropriations committee leadership in support of funding programs that facilitate green building.

  • Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S.1000): This bill would authorize a loan guarantee program for building retrofits (including multifamily residential structures) and strengthen national model building energy codes.

  • Green Resources for Energy Efficient Neighborhoods (GREEN) Act/Energy Efficiency in Housing Act (not introduced in 112th Congress): These bills would support the incorporation of green and energy efficiency standards into Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs and support the development of energy- and location-efficient mortgage products.

  • Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives: Several members of the Coalition support improvements to the 45L New Energy Efficient Home Tax Credit and the 179D Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Deduction that allow them to be more effectively used for affordable multifamily housing. The Expanding Building Efficiency Incentives Act was introduced in the 111th Congress to enact changes to the 45L credit, but was not enacted.

  • Sensible Accounting to Value Energy (SAVE) Act: The SAVE Act would require federal loan agencies to asses a borrower's expected energy cost when financing a home, with the goal of expanding the accessibility and affordability of energy efficient homes.

Regulatory Activities

  • Better Buildings through Executive Action - An Update and Look Forward (January 2012) - Coalition members released a report on Jan. 18 which recommends specific actions that federal departments and agencies can take to promote green building and sustainability in various building sectors. Using existing legal authorities, all recommendations could be implemented without the need for new legislation. The report is an update to an April 2010 report on the same subject, and recommends federal action to make affordable housing more energy-efficient and sustainable, including (but not limited to): reforming utility allowance calculations, eliminating funding barriers in Housing Assistance Payments and HUD budget-based subsidy programs, encouraging energy efficiency in Federal Housing Administration (FHA) programs and improving data collection in HUD programs. In response to this report, members of the Green Affordable Housing Coalition submitted a letter to Secretary Shaun Donovan on Feb. 3rd which urges the current administration to take an active approach in advancing energy efficiency in affordable housing.