Green affordable housing is indeed within reach, saysAbromowitz, a 25-year industry expert who focuses on housing policyand related federal and state programs and issues. According tohim, greening the existing US affordable housing stock--some sixmillion units--would provide important fiscal, economic andenvironmental benefits.

Included in President-elect Barack Obama's sustainability goalsis the creation of green jobs. Targeted green retrofitting, notesAbromowitz, can lead to a growth in employment within the sector.Further, investment in making low-income housing more efficient hasthe potential to stimulate a green renovation industry with bestpractices and technologies that would apply to the market-ratehousing sector.

Affordable housing currently accounts for almost 17% of the35-million-unit US housing inventory and because it is federallyassisted, targeted green policies would apply. A good portion ofsubsidized housing is at least 20 years old; more than 65% wasbuilt before 1970, before the sustainability trend even emerged. "Atargeted emphasis on energy conservation means these units areprime candidates for necessary renovation work that will generatesignificant energy and carbon dioxide reductions," saysAbromowitz.

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