U.S. states increasingly embrace green affordable housing

When you think of LEED, some of the world’s most iconic commercial buildings might come to mind. LEED-certified buildings include skyscrapers like the Empire State Building in New York City and the Taipei 101 tower in Taiwan—but did you know that LEED supports resilient and sustainable affordable housing as well?

States put LEED within reach of affordable housing residents.

Through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, U.S. states are granted federal funding to leverage investment in affordable rental housing. To effectively allocate this funding, the federal government requires that each state’s housing financing authority outline criteria to determine funding priority in the form of a Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP).

States embrace green building policy.

Each state determines its own requirements and competitive criteria for projects seeking funding under the LIHTC program, which can often include green building certification. As outlined in Global Green’s 2017 QAP Analysis, the adoption of green building practices has increased each year since first reporting in 2006.

In fact, the 2017 study reported that 32 states had incentivized third-party green building certification programs—including LEED—in their QAPs. Several states go a step further, requiring third-party green building certification for LIHTC applicants—including, most recently, Georgia.

States continue to recognize the benefits of third-party green building certification for affordable housing. When applied to affordable housing, LEED can support residents in both the short and long term by offering enhanced energy efficiency, improved indoor air quality, access to green space, proximity to transit and more. These benefits translate to healthier homes, as well as lower operating costs for residents.

USGBC advocates for expanded LEED adoption.

USGBC continues to advocate for affordable housing that is sustainable, resilient and green, so that residents in every state can experience the benefits. USGBC believes that, regardless of income, every person is entitled to a stable, safe, healthy, affordable home.