Freddie Mac Slashes Utility Bills for Low- and Middle-Income Renters

December 12, 2018

Mortgage financing giant Freddie Mac is helping to lower the utility bills for hundreds of thousands of low- and middle-income renters through water and energy-efficiency improvements of units. The efforts are part of Freddie Mac’s three-year "Duty to Serve" plan, which aims to increase rental and homeownership opportunities in underserved markets across the country.

A showerhead installed in a tile wall.

alchem - Morguefile

“Workforce families don’t typically live in newly constructed apartment buildings that were built with water and energy efficiency in mind,” says Steve Guggenmos, vice president of Multifamily Research & Modeling. “The result is more water and electricity used per unit, and higher utility bills for tenants that can hardly afford it.”

Freddie Mac’s Green Advantage program is helping to finance upgrades to hundreds of thousands of units across the country, investing $36 billion in loans across nearly 367,000 units. The properties in the program tend to be garden-style apartments that are several decades old.

To help lower the bills, water-saving improvements are made, such as to the showerheads, bathroom aerators, and kitchen aerators. The most common energy-saving improvements are LED lighting for interior, exterior, and common areas and improved HVAC thermostats. The improvements typically cost less than $500 per unit. But the improvements are, on average, saving $220 per unit per year in energy costs.