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New Philly-based fund helps U.S. landlords boost green power, water

The first project is targeted to reducing electricity, water, and gas use by apartment dwellers.

Reinvestment Fund

The Reinvestment Fund, the Philadelphia-based nonprofit lender and redevelopment-policy shop, has raised $12.5 million in investments from life insurer and annuity sales giant MetLife Inc. to set up a Clean Energy Fund to lend "affordable, longer-term capital to small- and mid-sized energy retrofit projects nationwide," said Reinvestment Fund executive director Don Hinkle-Brown in a statement.

Clean Energy Fund's first project is partial financing for the $6 million Affordable Community Energy Services Co., a California affiliate of Colorado-based Mercy Housing, which calls itself "the nation's largest nonprofit owner of low-income housing." The project will provide "energy retrofits" by Affordable Community's energy contractor, Bright Power, in hopes of saving electricity, water, and gas use by 60,000 Mercy tenants in 9,000 Mercy apartment buildings on the West Coast. Mercy is active in Southern and Western states.

The project will help "decarbonize" apartments by decreasing its carbon footprint, said Peter Goldmark, the former Rockefeller Foundation President and Environmental Defense Fund executive who now promotes green energy projects as head of the New Energy Model Organization (NEMO).

The Reinvestment Fund says the Clean Energy Fund will make it easier for small- and middle-market landlords to qualify for clean-energy contracting arrangements that have mostly targeted government agencies, hospitals, colleges, utilities, and corporate users.

The Reinvestment Fund says it has lent $115 million for solar installations, energy-efficiency retrofits, and other energy projects since 1993. Reinvestment Fund is best known for financing affordable-housing, charter-school, day care, and small business projects through federal tax-benefit programs and bank and insurer community-financing programs, and for research on urban redevelopment.

(An earlier version of this item mischaracterized the tax status of the MetLife investment)