This paper summarizes early results from a demonstration grant program launched by the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust (MRET) to stimulate the use of renewable energy and green building practices in affordable housing. Since its inception in 2005 the Green Affordable Housing Initiative (GAHI) has provided $24.5 million in grant funds to eight grantees (termed "Partners"). With just over half the developments completed, there are early results and impacts of the program, including indications of market transformation in the Commonwealth's affordable housing market. This paper highlights some of these early housing, energy and environmental impacts of the program; presents some of the lessons learned; and showcases the preliminary indicators of market transformation.
Among early program results are state, city and individual organizational policy and funding changes to encourage renewable energy and green building practices; the creation of 2,195 green affordable housing units; the installation of 1,861 kW in renewable energy capacity (39 developments), sufficient to support almost 80 percent the total square footage of all developments in the program; and early cost savings ranging from $144 per multi-family unit to $511 for single-family units, based on a small number of units reporting.
In presenting this report, the authors note that many of the GAHI Partners are still completing building projects and bringing them into operation. All GAHI developments will be completed by early 2011. Data reported in this paper are current as of November 2009 when GAHI monitoring and evaluation ended.