June 30, 2010

Hearing Held on Whitehouse Affordable Green Housing Proposal

Washington, D.C. – Today, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) testified at a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee’s Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development about legislation he introduced to promote home energy efficiency. The Energy Efficiency in Housing Act of 2009 (EEHA), cosponsored by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mark Udall (D-CO), and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), would help consumers save money on home energy costs, create jobs for local contractors, and limit pollution that contributes to global warming.

“With buildings accounting for between 40% and 50% of greenhouse gas emissions, green housing incentives offer environmental promise in addition to jobs and cost savings,” Whitehouse said. “This legislation can help put us on a path toward fulfilling those promises.”

Also testifying today was a Rhode Island homebuilder who discussed the benefits of home energy efficiency. David Caldwell, a Marine Corps veteran and Vice President of Caldwell & Johnson of North Kingstown, has built more active solar homes than any other contractor in the state of Rhode Island. Mr. Caldwell testified, “I believe that the incentives and guidance of the Energy Efficiency in Housing Act will be a tremendous help to both homeowners and small businesses in facilitating the shift towards more sustainable and efficient housing stock. This is an outstanding example where federal leadership can synthesize a true win-win situation for business and homeowners.”

The Energy Efficiency in Housing Act of 2009 (EEHA) would require the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to develop mortgage incentives for homebuyers — such as waived fees, higher permitted loan principal, and lower interest rates — to finance purchases of energy efficient homes and home improvements. EEHA would also authorize a $5 billion loan fund to help states and municipalities develop green building programs and a 50,000-unit energy efficiency pilot program with the cost savings to be shared between tenant and landlord.


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