Bringing Energy Efficiency to Section 8 Housing

Seven very low-income housing complexes in New Mexico have been renovated to be more energy efficient. The work was made possible by a nonprofit partnership that works in part to put money back in low-income residents' pockets.

"Spending roughly $1 million at each property, the Reliant Group installed energy-efficient, double-paned windows and low-flow toilets and shower heads to help residents save on their utility bills. Energy-saving fluorescent lights were installed in kitchens and entries. Ceiling fans were added."

"'These things don't save on the owner's energy bill,' said Hans Juhle, a partner in the Reliant Group. 'They reduce the resident's bill and these are people who live on the margin.'"

"But the bottom line isn't just about money, although that's important, Juhle said. 'Part of our purpose - and one of the reasons people invest with us - is we provide a social return on investment,' he said. 'It's a double bottom-line type of investment.'"

"The seven New Mexico apartment complexes were among 20 Section 8 properties getting a combined $22.4 million in renovations. The 20 properties - the others are in Texas - form the RHAC portfolio, named after Phoenix-based Rainbow Housing Assistance Corp. Rainbow Housing focuses on affordable housing and provides a variety of services and programs to its tenants. Rainbow and Reliant are often partners on Section 8 properties."

Full Story: Nonprofit Makes Section 8 Complexes Green

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