Freddie Mac says it’s helping to provide lower utility bills for low and middle income residents in thousands of homes by making energy-efficient improvements to their units.
The energy saving drive is part of a three year “Duty to Serve” plan that Freddie Mac says is designed to create more rental and ownership opportunities in underserved markets, it says.
“Workforce families don’t typically live in newly constructed apartment buildings that were built with water and energy efficiency in mind,” Steve Guggenmos, vice president of Multifamily Research & Modeling at Freddie Mac, said in a statement. “The result is more water and electricity used per unit, and higher utility bills for tenants that can hardly afford it.”
Freddie Mac is using a second program, called “Green Advantage”, to provide the financing needed to upgrade hundreds of thousands of homes and apartments across the U.S. The plan is to invest $36 billion in loans across 367,000 units. Most properties being upgraded are “garden-style” apartments and are usually several decades old.
The improvements are focused on water saving, by making showerheads, bathroom aerators and kitchen aerators more efficient. On the energy saving side, Freddie Mac is financing improvements such as LED lighting for interior, exterior and common areas, as well as new HVAC thermostats.
The total cost of the improvements comes to around $500 per unit, and lead to around $220 a year in savings on energy costs.