Enterprise has announced a $4 billion commitment to launch the next generation of its Green Communities initiative.

“We want everything Enterprise touches to be green by 2013,” said Charles Werhane, president and CEO of Enterprise Community Investment, Inc.

Enterprise’s own efforts are expected to result in the creation, preservation, or retrofit of 75,000 green homes and community buildings in the next five years.

In a bold move, the organization went further by issuing a national call to action to make all affordable housing, both new and existing, green by 2020.

One part of Enterprise’s expanded initiative will include newly established retrofit funds, which will lend to existing multifamily building owners to make energy and water reduction improvements.

A national provider of development capital and expertise to build affordable homes, Enterprise is also developing a retrofit protocol for building performance audits and an industrywide data management platform to track building performance.

The launching of the next phase of green building initiative coincides with the release of Incremental Cost, Measurable Savings: Enterprise Green Communities Criteria, a study that looks at the cost effectiveness of meeting the organization’s green building principles.

The results clearly show that the benefits justify the investment, said Doris Koo, president and CEO of Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.

A big question for affordable housing developers has been the cost of green building, which could jeopardize the financial feasibility of their projects.

The report finds that energy and water conservation measures paid for themselves and produced additional savings.

Koo also cited how children living in Seattle’s High Point, a recent public housing development built with green features, are experiencing fewer asthma symptoms.

“It isn’t just the right thing to do but the economically smart thing to do,” added Kelly Caffarelli, president of The Home Depot Foundation, which has committed a $1.5 million grant to Enterprise’s efforts.

The Kresge Foundation and The Kendeda Fund are also contributing $1 million each.

Enterprise officials said the $4 billion effort will include funds from different sources, including foundations and low-income housing tax credit equity funds that the firm raises each year.

Green Communities was launched in 2004 and has invested more than $700 million in 16,000 affordable homes nationwide.