WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Energy Star program has signed an agreement with the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (Freddie Mac) aimed at increasing the efficiency and affordability of multifamily housing properties. Freddie Mac works with mortgage lenders to help people get lower housing costs and better access to home financing. The new agreement outlines strategies to save energy, water, and money for multifamily property owners and residents.
“Boosting energy and water efficiency not only saves money and makes these properties a better investment for owners and more affordable for families who live there — it is also an important step in the president’s commitment to fighting climate change by cutting energy waste in our nation’s buildings,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “By making it easier to secure financing for energy efficiency investments and providing data about energy use and efficiency opportunities, these strategies will create lasting environmental and public health benefits while making multifamily buildings more efficient and valuable.”
“Freddie Mac is proud to partner with the EPA in this effort,” said Mitchell Resnick, Freddie Mac Multifamily vice president of loan pricing and securitization. “As one of the largest commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) issuers in the country, we are looking to guide the industry and the CMBS market towards a greater sensitivity to environmentally responsible lending and investing. This partnership is the first of what we hope are many steps in that direction. We are looking at how energy efficiency improves the financial viability of the apartments we finance, and most importantly its impact on the affordability of rental housing.”
Roughly one-third of Americans live in apartments within multifamily buildings, spending approximately $22 billion on energy every year, said EPA. This memorandum of understanding outlines strategies to make multifamily housing more affordable by encouraging building owners and tenants to benchmark their energy and water performance and take steps to improve efficiency. Among those strategies:
• Freddie Mac will explore the collection of energy and water performance data from property owners during the loan underwriting and asset management processes.
• By demonstrating the financial value of energy and water efficiency to lenders and borrowers, Freddie Mac hopes to be able to influence lending practices in ways that encourage investments in energy efficiency and make multifamily housing units more affordable.
• EPA will assist Freddie Mac with these, and other, goals, by providing technical and educational support in the use of the Energy Star Portfolio Manager® energy management and tracking tool as well as other Energy Star resources.
Publication date: 2/17/2014