Portaal housing corporation and the European Investment Bank (EIB) today signed a financing agreement. This is the first time that the EIB has entered into an agreement with a housing corporation. It is making a EUR 200m facility available that will be used to make existing housing more energy-efficient and build new energy-neutral homes.

Portaal Board member Dirk Jan van der Zeep is pleased about the agreement with the EIB for a number of reasons: "First, this facility will provide us with the impetus to make our homes more energy-efficient. This is good for our tenants and good for the environment. Tenants will admittedly pay a bit more for their energy-efficient homes but on the other hand there will be a significant reduction in their energy bills. And that will benefit affordability. I am also glad to see that the traditional financiers of the sector are being joined by a newcomer that understands the importance of social housing and wants to play a part in this."

With this loan, Portaal will finance a substantial part of its investment programme, with the emphasis on improving the energy efficiency of existing housing and building new energy-neutral homes. This fits in well with the EU's urban renewal and sustainable communities objectives as well as with the EIB's objectives.

EIB Vice-President Pim van Ballekom commented: "Together with the recent loan to NWB Bank, of which around 70% is earmarked for this sector, this operation demonstrates the EIB's commitment to the social housing sector in the Netherlands. Affordable housing is important, especially nowadays, but it must meet certain criteria in terms of how environmentally-friendly it is. Portaal is committed to this and deserves our full support."

The investment programme consists in the first instance of more than 40 small-scale sustainability projects in the regions where Portaal operates and will therefore involve nearly 5 000 homes.