Nick Brousse

Pennsylvania awards credit to LEED-certified buildings in its tax credit plan for low-income housing.

USGBC believes in green buildings for all. We are pleased to see Pennsylvania join a growing list of states to include LEED certification in its selection ranking criteria, thus prioritizing funding for projects that will provide high-quality, energy-efficient and healthy housing.

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, which administers the Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, recently released its 2017–18 plan outlining the allocation of this key source of funding to meet the housing needs of the Commonwealth.

For the first time, the agency will award points to developments achieving LEED certification—notably, rewarding projects that achieve LEED Silver under LEED v4 BD+C and LEED v4 O+M. Additional points outlined in the plan include innovative design elements such as smart site selection, walkability and public transit-oriented design, many of which also contribute to credit toward LEED certification.

Utility bill savings from living in energy-efficient homes and apartments are a lifeline for those who rely on affordable housing. Research by Virginia Tech found that 15 apartment communities built to above-code green building standards used 40 percent less energy than housing built to existing code requirements. These communities saved the average tenant $54 per month on utility bills—a savings of over $600 per year.

By rewarding LEED certification, Pennsylvania is making clear its commitment to transforming the way affordable housing is designed, built and operated to save energy, water and money.

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