Enterprise Community Partners, founded in 1982, was created to ensure that Americans had access to decent and affordable homes. Today, the organization is working on its Green Communities initiative – the same core concept but with an environmentally friendly twist. Similar to the good, green jobs mantra, Enterprise wants good, green homes for American families. To help meet this goal, the group has committed to a $4 billion investment.

The basis for this new commitment, to have all of their projects eco-friendly by 2013, is a recently released study that examined the cost savings associated with green homes. The report, Incremental Cost, Measurable Savings: Enterprise Green Communities Criteria shows that the potential savings exceed the upfront costs of building green affordable housing. In addition to saving homeowners money, people living in an eco-friendly house are healthier and ultimately have a better quality of life.

Since the financial bottom line is what many investors look at, the report lays it all out on the table in the executive summary.

“From a strictly financial standpoint, the projected “lifetime” utility cost savings – averaging $4,851 per dwelling unit discounted to today’s dollars – are sufficient to repay the average $4,524 per-unit cost of complying with the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria.” Source: Incremental Cost, Measurable Savings: Enterprise Green Communities Criteria (PDF)

In order to achieve the energy savings described in the report, several steps were taken in each of the dwellings in the study including the use of Energy Star appliances and lighting, building the units to meet Energy Star standards, the use of low flow plumbing, and providing individual electricity meters for each individual rental property.

After releasing the report, Enterprise Green Communities announced the $4 billion commitment. This multi-billion dollar investment will provide funding for green retrofits of 75,000 homes, community centers, and commercial buildings within a five-year time frame.

In addition to the financial benefit of the green retrofits, the project will also provide good, green jobs at a time when the nation can use every new job it can get.

Photo: Matti Mattila/Flickr

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