Community Housing Energy-Efficiency Program For Australia

Community housing - energy efficiency

Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has announced a $250 million Community Housing Program that will contribute to the construction of up to 1,000 energy efficient houses across the nation.

In addition to new dwellings, finance will also be provided for retrofits to existing houses; such as LED lighting, energy-efficient household appliances, installing solar panels and enhancing insulation.

The initiative will be carried out via Australia’s network of Community Housing Providers.

“Over the next year, our goal is to help finance the construction of 1,000 new dwellings, built to an average seven-star rating under the Nationwide Housing Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS),” said CEFC Community Housing Sector Lead Victoria Adams.

“With this standard, energy use can be reduced by an estimated 25 per cent, delivering significant savings benefits to tenants and building owners.”

Currently, there are around 88,500 community housing dwellings in Australia; with nearly 90 per cent of that stock located in major cities and inner regional areas.

Also announced yesterday was the release of a new report from the CEFC; Financing Energy Efficient Community Housing (PDF).

The report says low-income tenants are twice as likely to be living in a home without insulation compared to owner-occupiers.

Households receiving most of their gross weekly income from a government pension spend nearly double the proportion of their income on energy costs compared to other households.

Investment in making community housing more energy efficient would have a very positive impact; both to the tenants/occupants – and to the wider community.

“But there is a funding gap that needs to be addressed to help drive this investment,” said Mr. Yates. “Long-term debt finance from the CEFC can help community housing organisations deliver new housing developments and ensure those dwellings are built to high standards of energy efficiency.”

Under the program, the CEFC says it can provide longer-dated debt of up to 10 years; compared to typical tenors of 3-5 years currently offered by commercial banks.

The Community Housing Program builds on CEFC’s commitment to provide up to $60 million in finance to community housing organisation SGCH. That program involves the construction of 200 new energy efficient homes in Sydney with a seven-star NatHERS rating and upgrades to some of SGCH’s 4,300 existing properties.

Further information about the CEFC Community Housing Program can be viewed here.

Image credit : David Shankbone