A new program to help drive the construction of energy efficient community housing was today announced by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

The CEFC says the $250 million Community Housing Program will help fund the construction of up to 1,000 new energy efficient homes for low-income earners.

At the same time, Community Housing Providers will be able to access finance to retrofit existing buildings to improve energy efficiency for tenants. According to the CEFC, this could include measures such as switching to LED lighting, updating household appliances, installing solar panels and improving insulation.

CEFC Community Housing Sector Lead Victoria Adams said the new program will fill a funding gap, and the finance can be used to complement funding sourced from other state government initiatives or co-financiers.

“Community Housing Providers have typically faced financing constraints which has limited their ability to invest for the long term. We see this finance program as an important way to help ensure new dwellings are built to meet this growing demand, and that new buildings have stronger energy efficient standards, so tenants can experience the benefits of lower energy costs”

The CEFC today also released its new market report: Financing Energy Efficient Community Housing. The report identifies strong demand for new community housing over the next decade, requiring significant private sector investment.

Ms Adams said: “Over the next year, our goal is to help finance the construction of 1,000 new dwellings, built to an average seven-star rating under Nationwide Housing Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS). With this standard, energy use can be reduced by an estimated 25 per cent

Buildings with a seven-star NatHERS rating may use a range of measures to improve energy efficiency, such as energy efficient building materials, double glazing on windows, and high quality insulation and ventilation.