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Courtesy Flickr user romanboed under Creative Commons license.[/caption]

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Freddie Mac want to make America's multifamily buildings more energy efficient and affordable, and are teaming up to do so. On Jan. 30, the two entities announced a signed agreement outlining strategies to save water and energy in multifamily properties and to improve financing for energy efficiency investments. Reducing energy costs for apartment residents should improve the affordability of the units, according to a release from the EPA.

Roughly one-third of Americans live in multifamily buildings and spend $22 billion on energy, according to the EPA. And if these properties were to become 30 percent more efficient by 2020, it would create $9 billion in energy savings and reduce carbon emissions by 35 million metric tons. The EPA is already working with Fannie Mae and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on strategies to meet President Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan goal of making multifamily buildings 20 percent more efficiency by 2020.

Key strategies in the EPA and Freddie Mac agreement include:

  • Freddie Mac exploring the collection of energy and water performance data from property owner during loan underwriting and asset management processes.
  • Freddie Mac seeking to better demonstrate the financial value of energy and water efficiency to lender and powers to encourage adjustments to lending practices that support energy efficiency investments.
  • EPA providing technical and educational support to Freddie Mac, along with use of EPA's Energy Star Portfolio Manager energy management and tracking tool.