County Council unanimously adopts Green Community Initiative, providing access to financing for energy and water conservation projects
StoryThe Metropolitan King County Council today gave its unanimous approval to legislation creating the Green Community Initiative, providing community groups, nonprofit organizations and businesses the ability to apply for low-interest financing for projects that conserve energy, water, and promote environmental sustainability.
“Empowering communities to take the initiative on ‘greening’ their own infrastructure is a great way to achieve our environmental sustainability and resource protection goals,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips, chair of the Council’s Transportation Economy and Environment Committee and prime sponsor of the legislation. “By helping community conservation projects become more affordable through low-cost financing, King County is partnering with businesses, nonprofits, and community groups to promote clean energy and conservation of resources. I hope many organizations will participate in the Green Communities program.”
“King County is committed to protecting the environment, and the Green Community Initiative will boost our economy and quality of life while helping us steward our natural heritage,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.
Under the Green Community Initiative, King County will promote and help groups and businesses access below-market-rate interest rate Qualified Energy Conservation Bond (QECB) financing offered by the federal government through the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. The Commission is a self-funded agency that brings private investment dollars to benefit families and achieve public goals statewide, including affordable housing, community services, and homeownership. The commission also administers the state’s Sustainable Energy Trust, which uses non-government dollars to invest in sustainable and/or renewable energy projects and energy-efficient construction.
Under the partnership, King County will screen applications to ensure that the project outcomes will achieve minimum green criteria requirements for energy conservation and other environment benefits before the Housing Finance Commission will consider the applications.
The types of projects that could be eligible for special financing include large-scale alternative energy generation projects, conservation projects that dramatically reduce energy or water consumption, or projects that cut greenhouse gas emissions.
King County can now assist the Housing Finance Commission in soliciting and evaluating projects within the county that would qualify for the Commission’s loan programs. By partnering with the Housing Finance Commission to enable private and nonprofit sector groups to apply for this low-interest financing for environmentally beneficial projects, the County is working to enhance environmental sustainability and protection, and to further the economic growth, built environment, and environmental sustainability goals of the King County Strategic Plan.
For more information about the Green Community Initiative, go to: www.kingcounty.gov/greencommunity