Ann Arbor Accepts Sustainability Grant

At its May 21, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council authorized receipt of $256,000 to create a community-scale energy strategy to increase energy efficiency improvements in rental housing.

The rationale for the project, according to a staff memo, is to address energy costs that are regressive, because renters often pay more on utilities due to the condition of rental housing stock. That is, higher energy costs affect poorer renters more. The grant will be used to develop a strategy to address inefficiencies in rental housing and thereby increase the affordability of rental housing stock.

The money was awarded to the city as part of a larger $3 million grant given last year to Washtenaw County through the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Community Challenge Planning Grant (CCPG). According to the city staff memo, the goal of the Washtenaw County grant is “to expand existing affordable and energy efficient housing options and connect them to job centers and healthy food through an enhanced multi-modal transportation corridor.”

The corridor in question is Washtenaw Avenue, between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.

The $256,000 will be used by Ann Arbor for a rental housing energy efficiency project that is planned to last through December of 2014. Of the $256,000, $210,000 is budgeted for labor to hire a project manager and $46,000 is budgeted for marketing and outreach.

Matching funds totaling $370,000 have been pledged: $50,000 from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality grant supporting Michigan Green Communities; $60,000 from the Home Depot Foundation Sustainability Framework; and $260,000 from the city’s PACE/ energy efficiency financing and community outreach efforts.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]