Public Housing Goes Green

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Throughout the last year, green public housing projects have been built or proposed in several major cities, including New York, Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco. Most of the projects are apartments for ­formerly homeless and low-income residents and use low-flow water fixtures and energy-saving light bulbs. Many of the projects retrofit existing buildings.

Intervale Green in NY's South Bronx

Congress designated $4 billion in the stimulus bill to increase the energy efficiency of public housing, building on a 2008 announcement from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that encouraged the use of green technology and green strategies in public housing developments.

Enterprise, a nonprofit working on affordable housing, has laid out a plan to raise another $4 billion for affordable housing by 2014. The organization maintains corporate partnerships and other investments.

On average, public housing agencies spend about 25 percent of their operating costs on utilities, according to HUD.

—Jeff Raderstrong is a Washington, D.C., writer who blogs at

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