Growing Emphasis on Building “Green” Low-Income Housing
One growing trend in low-income housing is developing affordable housing with environmental sustainability in mind. In a recent report, Global Green USA examined states’ criteria for distributing federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs). The ranking is based on how well those criteria incentivize eco-friendly development and how much green housing is actually built as a result. Subcategories included Smart Growth, Energy Efficiency, Resource Conservation, and Health Protection.
The report illustrates that green building has become a fundamental element of many states’ Qualified Allocation Plans (QAPs). And for the first time, two states – Connecticut and Maryland – achieved perfect scores. Nearly half (47 percent) of all LIHTC funds went to states achieving an A- or better in the report's ranking, and 72 percent of all funds went to states that received a B- or better.
Use of third-party standards is also growing. In the first year of analysis (2005), only eight states mentioned a third-party green building certification program in their QAP. Now, more than half of all states reference national or regional programs like LEED, Enterprise Green Communities, Green Point Rated, and Earthcraft. In 15 states, the majority of funded housing projects pursue green building certification.
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