Rural Development Focusing on Energy Efficiency for New Projects

In FY 2010, the Rural Housing Service funded 31 multifamily housing projects; in each case, energy efficiency was made a priority. The goal of RHS is “net zero” energy usage, meaning that the renewable energy produced on site equals the energy consumed. 2011 projects will also be viewed with this policy in mind.
[clear h=”10″] The net zero goal will take some time to meet on a National level, and only two of the approved 2010 properties – both in California – meet the standard.
[clear h=”10″] Developers applying for RHS financing in 2011 will be require to meet the following standards: Energy Star and Energy Builder’s Challenge from the Department of Energy; Enterprise Green Communities; Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDS) for Homes from the U.S. Green Building Council; and the NAHB national green building standard.
[clear h=”10″] Other elements that RHS will look for in the design of affordable multifamily properties include passive solar design; insulation with high R-values; low-energy lighting, appliances and equipment; and educated and motivated tenants. Designs may also include renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass, or biofuel. RHS is also encouraging geothermal exchange systems to assist in achieving the net zero goal.
[clear h=”10″] Developers planning 2011 multifamily applications through the RHS should keep these considerations in mind when developing the projects; failure to meet these standards will almost certainly result in a failure to obtain financing.