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CEFC backs non-profit to boost community housing energy efficiency

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The Clean Energy Finance Corporation will loan $60 million to a NSW community housing developer to build more than 200 new energy efficient homes and retrofit another 4,300 older properties with energy efficient technologies.

The CEFC will provide the funds to the SGCH in long-term senior debt, allowing the not-for-profit to build more energy efficient, low-income housing, while giving existing tenants lower energy costs, and reducing the carbon footprint of its housing portfolio.

Energy-Efficiency

The CEFC-financed properties will be built to a minimum 4-star Green star rating or a 7-star rating under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS). The improvements to existing housing stock would be made to lighting, heating and cooling.

Funding will also be allocated to sustainability and energy efficiency initiatives that will help some of SGCH’s existing tenants lower their electricity bills.

“This initiative will help accelerate the delivery of more sustainable and energy efficient social and community housing,” CEFC CEO Oliver Yates said.

“People on low incomes are particularly impacted by rising energy prices, but they lack the capital for energy efficiency upgrades and are more likely to own inefficient appliances.”

Indeed, according to ACOSS, the lowest income households spend 7 per cent of disposable income on energy, compared to 2.6 per cent for the highest income households.

Yates said the collaboration with the not-for-profit – a first of its kind in Australia – was a great demonstration of how the CEFC could work across different sectors to help unlock the environmental, economic and social benefits of energy efficiency and renewables, helping to make it a wider investment priority.

“The CEFC is able to make finance available over a longer period, allowing the benefits of lower operating costs to be passed on to the tenants,” he said.

“This model will help make such investments more appealing for the housing sector to meet growing needs for more sustainable social housing.”

Yates said the results of the efficiency program would be documented, to help inform the CEFC’s future investment priorities in the community housing sector.  

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