FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
FORGET ABOUT RED STATES OR BLUE STATES, GLOBAL GREEN GRADES THE GREENEST STATES FOR LOW INCOME HOUSING CONSTRUCTION
Newly Released 2016 Global Green Report Card
Gives 22% of States Top Marks
Ohio receives only perfect score, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Washington, DC get As and eight more states achieved an A- including California
October 6, 2016 - Los Angeles, CA – At the US Green Building Council GreenBuild International Conference, Global Green announced the findings of its new report analyzing Green Building criteria in the low-income housing tax credit program. Ohio was the only state to receive a perfect score while Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Washington DC all received A’s and Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Washington, Colorado, California and Indiana received A- scores. Wisconsin and Texas both received the only Fs.
Global Green reviewed and graded four criteria including: Smart Growth, Energy Efficiency, Resource Conservation and Health Protection. Global Green Vice President Walker Wells noted that “In 2016, nearly three-quarters of all state agencies incorporated smart growth principles and energy efficiency standards into their Qualified Allocation Plans (QAPs) that determine how tax credits can be allocated for affordable housing developers, the majority of funding for such projects nationwide. Over half of the state’s QAPs now include resource conservation and health protection strategies.”
Utah made the single greatest improvement, from a D to a B+, based on the state becoming eligible for the performance scoring pathway. Making a similar leap, Tennessee improved their score from a D to a B. Not only does Tennessee’s QAP now suggest third party certification to be achieved by LIHTC (Low Income Housing Tax Credits) recipients, but 100% of projects this year committed to certification through the Green Communities Initiative. More than three-quarters of LIHTC award recipients committed to achieving third party certification through LEED or the Green Communities Initiative this year.
Integration of green building and sustainable development practices into affordable housing development continues to move toward becoming a norm in the industry. The fundamental benefits of utility cost reduction, increased durability, and health benefits are well understood within the industry through the outreach and education programs provided by organizations such as NeighborWorks America, Enterprise Community Partners, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and US Green Building Council.
Through the review of the 2016 QAPs, several emerging trends and best practices in green design were identified, along with new areas of concern and opportunity. Based on its review. Global Green developed the following recommendations:
- Require benchmarking and monitoring of energy, water, and solid waste
- Continue to expand the application of criteria related to proactive health strategies
- Update the definition of Revitalization Plans used in QAPs to include current innovations in neighborhood planning and district-scale sustainability
- Establish a common standard for addressing resilience in the context of affordable housing design and construction
Thirty years ago, the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program was established to serve as an incentive for private investment in affordable rental housing. Although a federal program, each state’s housing finance agency (HFA) assumes responsibility for the allocation of the tax credits to developers. This is typically done through a competitive process based on criteria put forth by each state in a Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP). Through our Green Affordable Housing Initiative work over the past twenty years, Global Green recognizes that the LIHTC program and the QAPs that guide the distribution of tax credits can play an essential role in increasing the national rate of adoption of green building practices in affordable housing design and construction.
Starting in 2005, Global Green has completed a regular review of the green building practices represented in each state’s QAP and published a national performance ranking of QAPs. The goal of this analysis is to identify leading policy trends, share best practices, and suggest technical, procedural, and policy options that can further increase the incorporation of green building procedures into affordable housing developments.
About Global Green
Global Green is a national leader in advancing sustainable and resilient communities to green cities, schools, and affordable housing to help protect human health, improve livability, and support our planet's natural systems in an effort to stem climate change. Global Green is dedicated to helping the people, places, and the planet in need through catalytic projects, transformative policy, and cutting-edge research. For more information, visit globalgreen.org and follow us @globalgreen.