Pairing Sustainability and Affordable Housing With Sadie McKeown


In the early 1970s, New York City was losing between 20,000 to 30,000 rental units each year in abandonment, fire or demolition. With a clear goal to address these issues, the Community Preservation Corp. was founded in 1974 and stands today as a Community Development Financial Institution solely committed to investing in multifamily housing. So far, the company has invested more than $11 billion to finance the creation and preservation of 196,000 units across New York State and beyond.

Earlier this year, CPC announced plans to attain carbon-neutral operations during the 2020 calendar year. The initiative is in line with New York’s goal to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050. To find out what steps the company is taking to fulfill this commitment and to learn how this bodes with the company’s investment focus on affordable housing, Multi-Housing News talked to CPC Executive Vice President & Head of Construction Lending Sadie McKeown. She heads the company’s construction lending and sustainability initiatives and leads CPC’s “underwriting efficiency” practice that incorporates energy and water efficiency features into the financing of first mortgages for multifamily building owners.

What projects does CPC currently handle in the energy field?

McKeown: In line with CPC’s mission and in an effort to move the entire industry forward in sustainability, we have created several free resources and tools to educate the multifamily ecosystem about the benefits of energy and water conservation methods on their balance sheets, financing options and building operations. These can be used by our clients as well as anyone in the field.

CPC and energy services provider Bright Power developed CPC VeriFi, a free online software application that calculates potential utility savings and helps owners explore financing options for sustainable multifamily building upgrades. In 2017, CPC developed the Underwriting Efficiency guide to provide lenders, public partners and owners with a resource to finance energy and water efficiency measures as part of a first mortgage. We are currently developing a supplement to the guide with a focus on high-performance energy-efficiency practices for new-construction multifamily projects such as Passive House and Net Zero standards that will be published in the summer of 2020.

In early fall 2020, CPC and lead partner New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will host a Carbon Neutral Summit. The goal of the Summit is to bring together a broad group of stakeholders in the real estate sector to discuss what is needed to achieve decarbonization in the built environment and exchange best practices.

Read the full interview with Sadie McKeown on Multi-Housing News’ website.