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The Impact of Green Affordable Housing: A Report by Southface and the Virginia Center for Housing Research

Authors:
  • Association for Energy Affordability
  • Eckersley O'Callaghan

Abstract and Figures

The impact of green building certification programs on the cost and energy performance of multifamily affordable housing has long been misunderstood due to a lack of data and analysis, particularly in the Southeast United States. The research presented in this report addresses this data gap by comparing a sample of green building program certified multifamily affordable housing to non-green multifamily affordable housing in the Southeast.
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The Impact of Green Aordable Housing
A Report by Southface and the Virginia Center for Housing Research
Alex Trachtenberg
Sarah Hill
Dr. Andrew McCoy
Teni Ladipo
January, 2016
EarthCraft™ is a partnership between
the Greater Atlanta Homebuilders
Association and Southface. Developed
in 1999 by the Greater Atlanta Home
Builders Association and Southface,
EarthCraft is the Southeast’s standard for
green building.
ENERGY STAR® and the ENERGY STAR
mark are registered trademarks owned
by the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency. ENERGY STAR certified new
homes are verified by independent
Home Energy Raters. Products/Homes/
Buildings that earn the ENERGY STAR
prevent greenhouse gas emissions
by meeting strict energy efficiency
guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency.
The ICC 700 National Green Building
Standard™ (NGBS) – the only residential
green building rating system approved
by ANSI as an American National
Standard. The NGBS provides practices
for the design and construction of all
types of green residential buildings,
renovations, and land developments.
Home Innovation Research Labs is an
independent subsidiary of the National
Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
LEED®, and its related logo, is a
trademark owned by the U.S. Green
Building Council® and is used with
permission.
The Impact of Green Aordable Housing
A Report by Southface and the Virginia Center for Housing Research
Authors:
Alex Trachtenberg - Southface
Sarah Hill – Southface
Dr. Andrew McCoy Ph.D. – Virginia Center for Housing Research, Virginia Tech University
Teni Ladipo - Environmental Design and Planning Ph.D. Candidate, Virginia Tech University
Prepared by:
Southface Energy Institute
241 Pine St., NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | I
Acknowledgements
Southface extends gratitude and thanks to the hundreds of
individuals and companies who supported the completion of
this report. Without the contribution of their time, resources,
information and insights over the past year we would not be able
to complete this project.
We are especially appreciative of the generous support from an
anonymous donor and Enterprise Community Partners who made
this project possible aer years in the making.
We are fortunate to have the guidance of our advisory committee
members: Andrea Winquist, MD, PhD, Assistant Research
Professor, Department of Environmental Health. Rollins School
of Public Health, Emory University; Barry Weaver, Barry Weaver
Consulting; Dr. Deborah Phillips, CPM, Georgia Institute of
Technology; Denis Blackburne, e Woda Group; Laurel Hart,
Georgia Department of Community Aairs; Robert Bareld,
Columbia Residential and Sara Haas, Enterprise Community
Partners who provided their time, feedback and professional
expertise to help shape and inform this project.
Additional thanks to our research partner, Virginia Center for
Housing Research –Virginia Tech University and our contributing
authors, Dr. Andrew McCoy Ph.D. and Teni Ladipo Ph.D.
candidate, who provided considerable academic and industry
expertise throughout this project.
Further thanks to the current and former Southface sta who
contributed to the project, specically Kathryn Lovda, Scott Lee,
Greg Brough, Bonnie Casamassima, Joe Baumann, Dennis Creech,
Laura Capps, Clarissa Delgado, Robert Reed, Marci Reed and
GrayKelly.
is report is the result of a collaborative eort involving all
persons and entities mentioned above in an eort to enhance
our understanding of green building certication programs and
their impact on aordable housing development and operations.
However, Southface is solely responsible for the content presented
in this report.
II | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
Executive Summary
e impact of green building certication programs on the cost
and energy performance of multifamily aordable housing has
long been misunderstood due to a lack of data and analysis,
particularly in the Southeast United States. e research
presented in this report addresses this data gap by comparing
a sample of green building program certied multifamily
aordable housing to non-green multifamily aordable housing
in the Southeast.
e research team, consisting of Southface, a nonprot in
Atlanta, GA, and the Virginia Center for Housing Research
(VCHR) at Virginia Tech University, conducted a year-long
research project to collect and analyze data on the cost and
eciency impact of green building certication programs
on aordable housing development. A total of 18 aordable
housing developments in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina
and South Carolina participated in the study. Eleven of which
are green building program certied or “green” developments,
and 7 represent conventional or “non-green” developments.
e sample consists of Low Income Housing Tax Credit funded
multifamily new construction properties with a minimum of
one year of occupancy. e developments, otherwise, represent a
wide variety of rural and urban locations, building characteristics
and amenities, construction methods and residents. Despite the
limitations of the variability and scale of the sample evaluated in
this study, the research presents a large amount of compelling,
signicant data to compare the cost and energy performance of
aordable housing developments across the Southeast.
Contractors, developers, housing nance agencies (HFA),
property managers and residents provided cost documentation,
operations and maintenance (O&M) reports, one year of
utility data and surveys to inform this study. e research
uses comparative statistics to evaluate the qualitative and
quantitative dierence between green and non-green aordable
developments.
Overall, the research ndings suggest that the green
developments are performing better than the non-green
developments in terms of construction and development costs,
energy eciency and utility costs, and satisfaction. at said,
however, the research also highlights some areas of improvement
for the green building industry, challenging green building
certication programs and practitioners to continue to push the
bar beyond energy code to achieve even greater energy savings
throughout the buildings lifecycle by providing enhanced
training and guidelines for building operations and maintenance.
Key ndings from the report are:
Families residing in green developments save nearly $8/
month and $96/year, and seniors save more than $10 per
month and $122 per year more on energy costs when
compared to non-green developments.
Green developments in this study save nearly $5,000 per
year on owner-paid utility costs when compared to non-
green developments.
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | III
Green developments spend 12% less on energy
(commonareas) per square foot than non-green
developments. Residents of green developments use
14%less energy per square foot.
Green developments are nearly 5% less expensive on total
construction costs per square foot and more than 13% less
expensive on so construction costs than the non-green
developments. More specically, analysis indicates that
green certied developments in GA, NC and SC cost
less to design and build than non-green alternatives in
ALandSC.
Non-green developments are only 1.6% less expensive
in terms of hard construction costs when compared to
greendevelopments.
Total operations and maintenance costs are 15% less
expensive for non-green developments when compared to
green developments.
Developers, property managers and Housing Finance
Agencies agree that green developments are more
energyecient.
e majority of developers indicate that green buildings
provide benets in terms of quality of end product and
achieving their rm’s objectives and mission.
Property managers and residents require a greater level of
education on how to properly operate and maintain green
developments in order to fully realize savings.
In summary, when aordable housing is green-certied,
developers are constructing higher quality housing at a lower
cost while low-income residents are saving more energy and
money. Housing nance agencies that administer the state
aordable housing development programs are also recognizing
that properties with a green building certication are providing
a higher quality and more ecient product, which saves
money for residents and provides the agencies with additional
quality assurance. Savings and benets could be even greater
with improved education, training and technical assistance to
housing nance agencies, property managers, maintenance sta
and residents. is research demonstrates that green building
program certied aordable housing does not cost more to
construct and provides short and long-term benets, challenging
the argument that green development comes with an excessive
premium that prohibits cost-eective development.
e research presented in this report adds substantive data
evidence to the anecdotal argument that green buildings save
energy and money, and disputes the perception that upfront
costs for green building are prohibitively signicant for
aordable housing development. Empirical data indicates that
green buildings are providing an array of benets to aordable
housing stakeholders including: contractors, developers, housing
nance agencies, property managers and residents. It is our
goal that this research is used by other researchers, industry
associations and policymakers to advocate for the adoption of
green building policies and requirements for aordable housing
development across the Southeast and nation.
IV | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
CONTENTS
Acknowledgements ...........................................................................................................................................................................................................I
Executive Summary ........................................................................................................................................................................................................ II
Introduction ...................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 1
Background ...................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 3
Literature Review ..............................................................................................................................................................................................................7
Methodology ................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 19
Findings ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 29
Stakeholder Surveys ...........................................................................................................................................................................................29
Developer/Builder Survey – Property Characteristics and Green Building Perceptions..........................................................................34
Developer/Builder Survey Discussion ............................................................................................................................................................. 38
Property Manager Survey .................................................................................................................................................................................. 39
Property Manager Survey Discussion ..............................................................................................................................................................42
Housing Finance Agency (HFA)Survey .........................................................................................................................................................43
Development and Construction Costs Comparison .....................................................................................................................................44
National Average Data Comparison ................................................................................................................................................................ 53
Hard and So Costs Section Discussion .........................................................................................................................................................58
Objective Data Section .......................................................................................................................................................................................59
Utility Tracking and Energy Consumption ..................................................................................................................................................... 60
Conclusions ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 69
References ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 71
Appendix .........................................................................................................................................................................................................................75
Section I. Denitions ..........................................................................................................................................................................................75
Section II. WegoWise Building Templates ...................................................................................................................................................... 80
Section III. Resident Utility Account Release Form ......................................................................................................................................82
Section IV. Resident Survey Flyer ..................................................................................................................................................................... 83
Section V. Developer/Builder Cost and Specications Survey ..................................................................................................................... 84
Section VI. Resident Survey ............................................................................................................................................................................. 98
Section VII. HFA Survey .................................................................................................................................................................................108
Section VIII. Developer/Builder Survey ........................................................................................................................................................ 114
Section IX. Property Manager Survey............................................................................................................................................................119
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | V
FIGURES
Figure 1: Global Green QAP Analysis – AL, GA, NC and SC .................................................................................................................................... 5
Figure 2: Energy Code Adoption – AL, GA, NC and SC ............................................................................................................................................ 5
Figure 3: Number of LEED® BD+C: Homes/LEED® BD+C: Multifamily Midrise Certied and Registered Projects
2004 to 2014 (USGBC, 2015) ............................................................................................................................................................................ 14
Figure 4: Number of EarthCra Certied Projects 2011 to March 2015 (Southface, 2015) ................................................................................ 14
Figure 6: Incremental Costs of Sustainability Certication as a Percentage of Construction Cost (Jackson, 2009) ........................................ 15
Figure 5: QAP Trends (2006 – 2013) (Global Green QAP Analysis, Fuhry, 2013)................................................................................................ 15
Figure 7: Level of Green Standard and Average Green Cost Premium (USGBC, 2003; Ahn, et al., 2007) ........................................................ 15
Figure 8: Comparison of Operating Expenses (price per square foot) between ENERGY STAR and Non-ENERGYSTARBuildings ....... 16
Figure 9: Mean Number of Crimes Reported per Building for Apartment Buildings with Dierent Amounts of Vegetation ....................... 17
Figure 10: RS Means Division of Work .......................................................................................................................................................................23
Figure 11: RS Means Green Average Cost ................................................................................................................................................................... 24
Figure 12: RS Means Non-Green Average Cost .........................................................................................................................................................24
Figure 13: Project Task Timeline .................................................................................................................................................................................. 25
Figure 14: Green and Non-Green Developments Map ............................................................................................................................................. 26
Figure 15: Green Developments Characteristics ........................................................................................................................................................27
Figure 16: Non-Green Developments Characteristic ................................................................................................................................................ 28
Figure 17: Is Your Previous Home an Aordable Development? ............................................................................................................................. 30
Figure 19: Is Your Previous Home a Green Development? .......................................................................................................................................30
Figure 18: Is Your Previous Home an Aordable Development? ............................................................................................................................. 30
Figure 20: Is Your Previous Home a Green Development? .......................................................................................................................................30
Figure 21: Current Overall Aordability (Rent + Utilities) Compared to Previous Home .................................................................................. 31
Figure 23: ermostat Temperature Setting in Current Home During Summer (°F) ........................................................................................... 31
Figure 22: Current Overall Aordability (Rent + Utilities) Compared to Previous Home .................................................................................. 31
Figure 24: ermostat Temperature Setting in Current Home During Summer (°F) ........................................................................................... 31
Figure 25: ermostat Temperature Setting in Current Home During Winte r (°F) .............................................................................................. 32
Figure 27: Satisfaction with Current Home (Comfort+Aordability) Compared to Previous Home ................................................................ 32
Figure 26: ermostat Temperature Setting in Current Home During Winte r (°F) .............................................................................................. 32
Figure 28: Satisfaction with Current Home (Comfort+Aordability) Compared to Previous Home ................................................................ 32
Figure 29: Green Building Certication Programs Used by Developer/Builders .................................................................................................. 35
Figure 30: Green Buildings Have Lower Utility Costs ...............................................................................................................................................40
Figure 31: Green Buildings Require a Greater Level of ResidentEducation ..........................................................................................................41
VI | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
Figure 32. Green Developments Building Characteristics and Total Cost ............................................................................................................. 45
Figure 33. Non-Green Developments Building Characteristics and Total Cost .................................................................................................... 46
Figure 34. Green vs. Non-Green Average Development SF Costs Summary ......................................................................................................... 46
Figure 35. Green Development Total Hard Costs ...................................................................................................................................................... 47
Figure 36. Non-Green Development Total Hard Costs ............................................................................................................................................. 49
Figure 37. Green Development Total So Costs ........................................................................................................................................................ 50
Figure 38. Non-Green Development Total So Costs ............................................................................................................................................... 51
Figure 39. Green and Non-Green Average Detailed Hard Costs/sf Summary ......................................................................................................51
Figure 40. Green vs. Non-Green Detailed Average So Costs/sf Summary .......................................................................................................... 51
Figure 41. Green vs. Non-Green Average Annual Development O&M Costs/sf Summary ................................................................................ 52
Figure 42. National Average (RS Means) vs. Actual Green Development Hard Costs ......................................................................................... 53
Figure 43. National Average (RS Means) vs. Actual Non-Green Development Hard Costs ................................................................................ 54
Figure 44. Detailed National Average (RS Means) vs. Actual Green Development Hard Costs ......................................................................... 55
Figure 45. Detailed National Average (RS Means) vs. Actual Non-Green Development Hard Costs ................................................................56
Figure 46. Developer/Builder Cost and Specications Survey ................................................................................................................................. 57
Figure 47. Green Development Avg. Monthly kWh/sf ..............................................................................................................................................61
Figure 48. Non-Green Development Avg. Monthly kWh/sf ....................................................................................................................................62
Figure 49. Green Developments Average Monthly kWh/sf (Jan ‘14 - Dec ‘14) .....................................................................................................63
Figure 50: Green Developments Energy Eciency Benchmark (Electric) kWh/sf .............................................................................................. 64
Figure 51: WegoWise Building Type Frequency by Climate Zone and Fuel Source .............................................................................................64
Figure 52. Non-Green Developments Monthly kWh/sf (Jan ‘14 - Dec ‘14) ........................................................................................................... 65
Figure 53: Non-Green Developments Energy Eciency Benchmark (Electric) ................................................................................................... 66
Figure 54: Green Developments Monthly Cost of Electricity .................................................................................................................................. 67
Figure 55: Non-Green Developments Monthly Cost of Electricity .........................................................................................................................68
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | 1
Introduction
In the past decade, across the United States, there has been a
substantial increase in requirements and incentives for green
development. However, many states in the Southeast have fallen
behind this national trend. Furthermore, Southeastern states
that have adopted green building programs and technologies
as aordable housing program incentives and requirements,
specically Georgia and Virginia, are experiencing eorts to
undermine current provisions that promote energy and water
eciency and other sustainability measures. Other Southeastern
states, such as Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina,
have been considering providing incentives for green building
and sustainable development. However, many are facing
opposition to adoption, primarily due to concerns related
to cost containment and whether green building programs
and technologies provide cost-benets and a return on the
investment made by developers, investors and the taxpayer.
Some in the aordable and market-rate development community
contend that the potential cost premiums of green building
outweigh the benets, and additional capital expenditures cannot
be recouped in a reasonable payback period. is push-back has
come as states are looking at cost containment for all aspects
of aordable housing. Some housing nance agencies (HFAs)
in the Southeast have concerns about increased administrative
workloads that green requirements might impose on their
sta, the potential technical hurdles imposed by green building
programs on developers and contractors with less experience,
reduced prot margins for developer-owners and a lack of
region-specic data related to the cost-benet of green building
programs. However, other HFAs that include green building
programs in their respective Qualied Allocation Plans (QAPs)
are anecdotally recognizing the benets aorded by third-party
green building certication programs on their administrative
budgets, resident comfort, aordability, quality of construction
and the potential for more accurate utility allowances. All HFAs,
whether they have or have not implemented green building
programs or measures in their QAPs, require more empirical
data to make the most informed decision regarding the role of
green building certication in the delivery of aordable housing.
2 | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
While there are thousands of green aordable homes in the
Southeast, few have collected and analyzed data on actual
costs and benets. e lack of data collection and analysis on a
portfolio of properties is predominantly due to limited funding
and capacity for research and the diculty collecting data from
developers, property managers and residents. It is imperative
to collect actual cost and operations data on green-certied
and non-green aordable housing in order to develop sound
housingpolicy.
Analysis of the costs and benets of green building and
sustainable development practices is especially critical for the
Southeast. e U.S. Census Bureau projects that over the next
twenty years, the Southeast, which is the most impoverished
region in the nation, will lead the nation in both housing
starts and net change in population growth, indicating that
the opportunities to further sustainability practices within the
aordable housing sector are immense. In the coming decades,
it will be crucial to design aordable housing policies and
programs that serve low-income, underserved and vulnerable
communities to the greatest extent possible.
e research presented in this report makes the case that green
building combined with aordable housing is a good decision
from an economic, environmental and equity (triple bottom line)
perspective for developers, housing nance agencies, property
managers, residents and taxpayers.
e research project assumptions are:
Determine and compare costs to design, develop and
construct green aordable housing.
Determine and compare operations and maintenance
costs associated with property management.
Determine and compare utility costs for low-income
residents.
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | 3
Background
LIHTC Overview
Whether it is a rental payment or a mortgage payment, housing
costs are approximately 30% of Americans’ monthly spending.
e U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD) uses residents’ levels of monthly income spent on
housing to determine low-income classications for housing
assistance and aordable housing creation. Aordable housing is
vital for promoting vibrant communities and strong economies.
roughout its history, the U.S. has used dierent approaches to
alleviate housing payment burdens for low and moderate-income
households. Federal government programs include public
housing, housing choice vouchers, Community Development
Block Grants (CDBG), and most recently, the Low-Income
Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). Today, the LIHTC is the largest
low-income rental subsidy in the U.S. and is an item of the
Internal Revenue Code, not a federal housing subsidy (Schwartz,
103). To understand the impact energy eciency policies can
have on aordable housing, it is essential to understand the role
of the LIHTC.
Enacted by Congress in 1986, the LIHTC program is based
on Section 42 of the Internal Revenue Code. e goal of the
program is to give the private development market an incentive
to invest in aordable rental housing. e program nances
rental housing for low-income households through an indirect
Federal subsidy. e LIHTC allows investors to reduce their
federal income tax by one dollar for every dollar of tax credit
received (Schwartz, 103).
e Internal Revenue Service (IRS) distributes the tax credits
to designated state agencies, which are typically state housing
nance agencies (HFAs). Each state is limited to a total annual
tax credit allowance of $1.75 per state resident. Developers of
qualied rental housing developments apply for the tax credits
through HFAs. If the developer is allotted tax credits through
the state application process, they sell these credits to investors
to raise equity for their project. e increase in capital in turn
reduces the amount of money the developer would have to
borrow. Since the developer’s debt is lower for this tax credit
property, they will be able to oer more aordable housing units.
As long as the property remains in compliance with the LIHTC
program requirements, the dollar-for-dollar credit will be applied
to the investor’s federal income tax for 10 years.
How Projects Qualify
Federal law guides the state’s LIHTC allocation process. It
requires that the state’s allocation plan give priority to projects
that “serve the lowest income families” and “are structured to
remain aordable for the longest period of time”. e program
also sets eligibility requirements. A proposed project must:
Be a residential rental property;
Commit to one of two possible low-income occupancy
threshold requirements;
20-50 Rule: At least 20% of the units must be rent
restricted and occupied by households with incomes
at or below 50% of the HUD-determined Area Median
Income (AMI)
40-60 Rule: At least 40% of the units must be rent
restricted and occupied by households with incomes at
or below 60% of the HUD determined AMI
e AMI is adjusted for household size;
4 | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
Many applications provide for 100% of the units to be
aordable and many applications provide for units to be
well below the 50% of AMI;
On average, 96% of the apartments in a tax credit project
are designated aordable (Schwartz, 112);
Restrict rents, including utility charges, in low
incomeunits;
Operate under the rent and income restrictions for 30
years or longer, pursuant to written agreements with the
agency issuing the tax credits;
Fieen year compliance period and subsequent 15 year
extended use period.
How the Program Aects Residents
Depending on the project, residents need to be within the
50% of the AMI range to qualify to live in a LIHTC project.
Paymentdepends on their certied annual income and the
maximum rent set by the project. “Maximum rents are set for
each size of unit, based upon 30% of maximum income for
specied household sizes” (Guggenheim, 3). e maximum
rent includes the estimated costs of utilities for a unit. New or
refurbished units add a benet of quality for residents of LIHTC
projects, leading to higher standards of living and resulting
in better health and increased economic opportunity. LIHTC
projects are required to remain low-income for a minimum
of 15years and residents are protected for another three years
beyond that period (Guggenheim, 3).
Program Limitations
e LIHTC, like all housing programs, is not without its
limitations. e rst limitation Schwartz notes is the housing
units nanced by the program are charged a at rent depending
on AMI. erefore, if a tenant’s income decreases they will be
spending more than 30% on their monthly rent. is limitation
means extremely low-income families can rarely aord to live in
LIHTC projects unless supplemented by federal housing vouchers
(Schwartz, 123). e second limitation is the lack of incentive for
building mixed-income developments. e developer receives tax
credits in proportion to the amount of low-income units, therefore
most of the projects are completely low-income. e lack of
long-term sustainability of these projects mark a third limitation.
Aer the 15-year aordability period, some projects convert their
units to market-rate. Many of the LIHTC developments lack the
resources and funding to replace building systems that need repair
aer 15 years of wear and tear.
Resident Behavior Aecting LIHTC
Aside from mortgage and rental payments, resident behavior and
utility bills aect housing aordability. Utility expenditures can
make up 20% of household income for a low-income resident.
e amount residents spend on water and electric bills is taken
out of their monthly income, jeopardizing their economic well-
being. By tracking utility usage through residents’ utility bills,
the eciency of the unit can be assessed and factored into utility
allowance calculations when using energy consumption models.
e key factors of resident behavior revolve around heating/
cooling, water and electricity. Residents also have varying
preferences for air temperature, fresh air intake and humidity
level. Factors that inuence electric bills include all aspects of
heating and cooling, from the use of a programmable thermostat,
space heater, or fan, to the use of all major and minor household
appliances. e assessment of resident behavior allows for
implementation of policies incentivizing energy ecient building
practices with the added benet of educating residents on the
most ecient use of their systems and appliances.
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | 5
Figure 1: Global Green QAP Analysis – AL, GA, NC and SC
QAP Year
2008 2009 2010 2012***
Grade** Score* Grade** Score* Grade** Score* Grade ** Score*
Alabama B- 26 C 35 C 27 C 25
Georgia A 43 A 50 A 50 A- 43
N. Carolina B 28 C 29 C 30 B- 35
S. Carolina C 21 D 19 D 21 C 25
*Score is out of 55 possible points for 2008-2010, Score out of 50 points for 2012
**The mean and standard deviation of the scores are used to determine the grading breakdown according to a normal distribution (bell curve)
***No QAP Analysis was conducted by Global Green in 2011
Qualied Allocation Plan Overview
e state agency, typically HFA, responsible for distributing
LIHTC is also responsible for establishing and updating their
state specic Qualied Allocation Plan (QAP). e QAP outlines
priorities, selection criteria and program eligibility requirements
for evaluating applications and awarding federal tax credits. Each
QAP outlines a scoring system by which applicants earn points
based on meeting the criteria. Awards are distributed to the
projects that meet all program requirements and earn the most
points. It is at the discretion of each state agency to design their
program criteria to reect the priorities of their region.
In 2008, the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HR3221)
passed congress. As one of its provisions, HR 3221 required
that QAPs take energy eciency and historic character into
account for all subsidy allocations aer 2008. e extent to which
various states adopted energy eciency measures into their QAP
varied considerably, and in many ways, shows the prioritization
of sustainability in their respective states. Global Green, the
American aliate of the nonprot Green Cross International,
has produced a report analyzing the sustainability measures
in state QAPs since 2005. eir reports rank state’s QAPs for
inclusion of green building strategies in four main categories:
Smart Growth, Energy Eciency, Resource Conservation, and
Health Protection. e resulting outcome receives a number
score (out of 55) and a letter grade.
According to their 2013 QAP Analysis, Global Green cites an
upward trend for inclusion of sustainability-related criteria in
Qualied Allocation Plans from 2006-2013 (2013 QAP Analysis,
Global Green USA). While the national trend is moving toward
improved sustainability practices in LIHTC nanced aordable
housing projects, some of the states in the Southeast have zero
Figure 2: Energy Code Adoption – AL, GA, NC and SC
IECC 2006 IECC 2009
Alabama N/A; no energy code adopted prior to IECC
2009
Adopted March 2012; Effective October 2012
Georgia Effective 2009 Adopted November 2010 (with GA
Amendments); Effective January 2011
North Carolina North Carolina Energy Conservation Code
(based on the 2006 IECC) Adopted March 11,
2008; Effective June 2009
Adopted March 2010 (with NC amendments);
Effective January 2012
South Carolina Effective July 2009 Adopted April 2012; Effective July 2013
or minimal green building criteria in their LIHTC Programs.
Figure1 shows the Global Green scoring of the sustainability
measures in the QAPs for the states included in our study.
Georgia’s QAP is consistently ranked highest in the Southeast
for inclusion of green building criteria, most notably for
incentivizing green building and neighborhood certication
programs, such as EarthCra, LEED® green building program
and e National Green Building Standard™ (NGBS).
Additionally, Georgia’s QAP encourages access to transit, better-
than-code air-inltration rates, mandatory performance testing
6 | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
and low-VOC nishes in addition to a variety of energy and
resource-ecient threshold requirements. Georgia’s QAP scored
an average of 46.5 points in the Global Green Analysis between
2008 and 2012, consistently categorizing it among the nation's
and region’s most energy and resource-ecient QAPs.
North Carolina’s QAP averaged a score of 30.5 between 2008-
2012, showing steady improvement in their plan’s incorporation
of sustainability-related practices. Most notably, North Carolina
incentivizes ENERGY STAR® certication in its scoring criteria
along with minimum eciency requirements for appliances,
duct sealing, window and wall performance criteria and low-ow
water xture specications.
Alabama’s QAP averaged a score of 25.75 between 2008-2012
and shows minimal change during this period relating to their
sustainability incentives. e Alabama QAP lacks the incentive
of third-party green building certication programs, although
it does oer up to 16 points under Energy Conservation and
Healthy Living Environment for exceeding energy code, a
15-year maintenance-free exterior standard, ENERGY STAR
refrigerators and dishwashers, R-38 attic insulation, 90%
furnaces, kitchen exhaust vented to the outdoors, R-19 insulation
in exterior walls and on-site solar power generation.
South Carolina’s QAP averaged a score of 21.5 between 2008-
2012. South Carolina’s plan does not include incentives for
green building certication programs, although it does require
ENERGY STAR refrigerators and dishwashers, 14 SEER HVAC
units (if HVAC is to be replaced or for new construction) and
low-ow xtures.
Energy Code Overview
e energy eciency of a state’s housing stock is strongly
inuenced by the adoption of building energy codes. Energy
codes reduce energy use and carbon emissions in the residential
market by instituting minimum eciency requirements for new
construction and renovation projects. Energy codes are adopted
at the state or local level and are enforced by local municipalities.
e International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) is a model
energy code written in enforceable language and governs both
commercial and residential building types. Chapter 4 of the
IECC covers residential buildings. Design criteria are classied
by and vary according to climate zone.
Residential energy codes are critical to market transformation.
As states adopt more progressive energy codes, the industry must
raise the bar to meet increasingly stringent energy eciency
requirements. While increasing the overall eciency of the
housing stock, progressive energy codes also encourage industry
professionals to expand their skill sets to design, specify and
construct more ecient, higher performing buildings for the
community.
Energy code adoption in the Southeastern U.S. is still a work-
in-progress. Alabama adopted its rst state energy code (IECC
2009) in October 2012, and Mississippi has yet to adopt a
residential energy code. at said, there has been signicant
progress in the Southeast in the last ve years, and many states
continue to raise the bar. However, it is important to note that
states oen adopt amendments to model codes which typically
lessen the requirements. Figure 2 summarizes residential energy
code adoption in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South
Carolina for the scope of this research project.
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | 7
Literature Review
e following pages reect a literature review analysis
considering existing literature on qualitative and quantitative
ndings of energy eciency, green building, sustainable
development, and subsequent potential nancial and social
benets realized by stakeholders including contractors,
developers, industry professionals, property manager’s residents,
and the surrounding community at large.
Energy Eciency
e impact that energy ecient building design has on housing
costs plays a key role in determining the future of energy
eciency policies in aordable housing construction standards.
By studying energy ecient building practices and their eect
on aordability, there will be a greater understanding of the high
performance certications and rating systems in place today.
Energy Eciency as an Inuencing Factor
on Aordability
In general, housing is constructed as inexpensively as permissible
for its market type by meeting the minimum requirements for
current code standards. is is done in order to keep rst costs
low, thus ensuring clients’ nancial accessibility and maximum
protability for developers and homebuyers alike. In the past,
little consideration was given towards energy eciency and the
additional expense of operation (primarily conditioning cost)
that result from building to minimum standards. As a result,
housing built to a target cost point with short-term nancial
motives and to minimum standards is oen not energy ecient.
is lack of energy eciency creates a higher operating cost
when compared to high performance construction methods and
materials.
Prior works make clear the importance and impacts of energy
eciency (Gillingham, et al., 2009). Energy ecient housing
is critical when considering overall energy demand and
consumption, as the impacts are complex and far reaching. In
addition to environmental and economic implications, the scal
health of a household can be closely tied to the cost burden of
energy expenditures. e energy cost incurred from household
operation can be signicant; such cost has the potential to create
nancial hardship for a household. While this is true for all
households, irrespective of income level, it holds especially true
in the case of low-income households. For these households, the
cost of housing alone can require a signicant portion of their
gross income. It is accepted that housing cost should ideally not
be more than 30% of one’s gross income; it is oen the case that
low-income households spend more than 30% of their gross
income on housing and associated operating cost (Schwartz &
Wilson, 2010).
Today, higher operating cost is a major factor of aordability.
Individuals nding themselves on the threshold of aordability
can see their energy costs push housing expenditures beyond
the normally accepted 30%. e globally trending rise in energy
consumption and cost will only further exacerbate the nancial
burden placed on these individuals if energy costs escalate at
the projected exponential rate (DOE, 2011a). As household
energy demands uctuate, dependent on climate conditions, so
do monthly energy costs. is erratic monthly variance in the
percentage of income allocated for housing is destabilizing to
household nances.
8 | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
Challenge between Household Income and
Energy Costs
All households are aected by energy expenditures and the
rising cost of energy. However, not all households have the
nancial means to simply pay more for their required energy
expenditures. erefore, those households with low incomes will
be burdened the most by future ination. Phillips (2005) noted:
“as residential energy costs increase exponentially, the burden of
these costs will impact all Americans – but the disproportionate
negative impact of energy costs will be most severe for low-
income Americans.” Further, Lee, et al., (1995) noted that lower
income households lack access to capital and oen have diculty
meeting lenders’ qualication, thus being unable or unwilling
to pay for eciency increases. Consequently, their future
energy expenses only further reduce the actual aordability of
theirhousing.
In examining the role energy expenditures play in housing
aordability, Lee, et al., (1995) calculated energy cost burden
accounted for 13% of housing expenditures for households
above the low-income level. Comparatively, for a low-income
household, 25% of their total housing expenditures are dedicated
to energy. Of the total energy consumed, over 40% was
consumed by space heating and air conditioning.
e percentage of income that a homeowner dedicates to
housing heating and cooling is not uniformly proportional
to household income and home size. “ere is an inverse
relationship between household income and residential energy
consumption and residential energy expenditures. Lower income
groups consume and expend more per square foot for residential
energy than do higher income groups in the United States”
(Phillips, 2005). Echoing this relationship, Lee, et al., (1995)
noted that low-income households are burdened by residential
energy costs more than other households. eir research
states “residential energy expenditures are a key determinant
of housing aordability; particularly for lower income
households… household energy costs continue to place a major
burden on lower income families” (Lee, et al., 1995). is burden
is only increased by the fact that low-income home buyers oen
purchase older, smaller homes in poor condition which reect
lower energy eciency (Collins, et al., 2002).
Studies have shown that households may be forced to forego
essentials in order to cover variances in energy bills. Nord and
Kantor (2006) observed that seasonal variations in home heating
and cooling costs resulted in food insecurity for low-income
and poor households. e cost burden of heating and cooling is
distributed dierently based on region and climate. In the U.S.,
southern states show a peak of electricity use in winter as well as
in summer (DOE, 2012).
It is important to understand how energy eciency aects
the housing cost burden for low and moderately low-income
households. With an overall understanding of how energy
eciency aects aordability, it is important to understand how
energy eciency can be monitored through certications and
policies. Certication, rating systems and policies cannot only
create incentives but also a platform for monitoring that can
shape the development and redevelopment of aordable housing.
By utilizing these tools to shape design, subsidy programs like
the LIHTC have the potential to lower residents’ utility bills and
reduce buildings’ negative impact on the environment through
lower energy and material consumption.
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | 9
Importance of Energy Ecient Housing
When evaluating the ability to pay housing expenditures, the
common measures of aordability presented in the preceding
sections consider total housing expenditures inclusive of all
utility expenses. “However, the cost burden of these utilities
is frequently not given adequate consideration during the
construction of a home” (Phillips, 2005). Lee, et al., (1995) noted
the cost of energy bills is inuenced so strongly by decisions
made during design and construction that it necessitates taking
a lifecycle perspective when evaluating housing. Lee further
stated, “Investment in energy-eciency measures may increase
purchase price, yet decrease future energy bills.
e U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimatesthatthetypical
household spends approximately 8-14% of theirincomeon
energy expenditures. Of this, a third typically isconsumedby
energydemands for heating and cooling needs (DOE,2005).
is indicates that for the typical American household,heating
andcooling costs consume approximately 3-5% of theirgross annual
income. is percentage is not insignicantwhen considering the
rising housing cost burden. Today, morethan one-in-three American
homeowners and one-in-two renters are considered to be cost
burdened. It is estimated that 12 million renters and homeowners
dedicate more than half of their annual incomes to housing expenses.
In a study examining the housing cost burden of Section 8
voucher program recipients, housing cost burdens averaged 36%.
is study further indicated that for more than a third of these
households their housing cost burden exceeded 40% of their
income. Structural and climate dierences were attributed to be
contributing burden factors. e correlation between housing
typology and conditioning costs has long been recognized as a
factor aecting aordability.
Green Building Overview
Energy Ecient Certication Programs
Overview
Nationally and regionally, independent building contractors
and tradespeople are the stakeholders primarily responsible
for implementing green buildings in the residential built
environment (McCoy, O’Brien, et al., 2012). ese stakeholders
are also primarily responsible for either veto or endorsement
of innovative products, processes and systems in residential
construction (Koebel, 2008; Koebel & McCoy, 2006; Koebel,
Papadakis, Hudson, & Cavell, 2004; Koebel & Renneckar, 2003;
Slaughter, 1993a, 1993b, 1998). According to Ng, et al., 2010,
“green building means improving the way that homes and home
building sites use energy, water, and materials to reduce impacts
on human health and the environment.” While the intent and
concept are straightforward, early adopters among independent
building contractors and tradesmen have recognized a need
for communicating specic benchmarks of green building,
similar to the “organic” label used for produce. is type of
product certication helps to manage expectations, provide
measurable deliverables, and establish a metric that can be tied
to economic value. Similarly, high performance construction,
such as green building certication, establishes expectations,
measurable deliverables and metrics for professionals. Product
certication and building certication are integral to green
building and lend condence to the risks in implementing a new
and relatively unknown system. e industry has moved quickly
to address these risks, as almost 50 local and regional green
building labeling programs have emerged, many of which shaped
national-level programs.
10 | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
Residential Certications and
RatingSystems
e American Society of Quality denes a certication
as, “aformal recognition that an individual (or rm) has
demonstrated prociency within, and comprehension of, a
specic body of knowledge.” It also can represent qualication
of a professional set of standards, commonly related to job
requirements or as an extension of education for licensure
(DeBaugh, 2005; Mulkey & Naughton, 2005). Regarding the
world of energy ecient construction, individuals or rms are
oen certied as “capable” of performing work within certain
standards, but must further have the building certied by a third
party observer.
Distinct dierences exist between certications and rating
systems. While certications oen require the successful
completion of an assessment or examination, rating systems
establish a set of standards by which the certied individual or
rm must adhere in the process of construction of a certied
product (Mulkey & Naughton, 2005; Schoneboom, 2005). Many
rms do not place as great a value on individual certication;
they rarely represent an assessment of knowledge (Adams, et al.,
2004) and, in residential construction, certifying the product, the
home, requires an outside entity.
In contrast, rating systems “provide the option for builders,
owners, and designers to establish a metric verifying the
relative greenness of their homes” (Reeder, 2010). Four leading
or emerging systems can currently be considered as specic
to the residential construction environment in the Southeast:
ENERGYSTAR® Certied for Homes program; LEED® for
Building Design and Construction: Homes and Multifamily
Lowrise/LEED® for Building Design and Construction:
Multifamily Midrise (LEED® BD+C: Homes/LEED® BD+C:
Multifamily Midrise); e National Green Building Standard™
(NGBS); and the EarthCra program.
ENERGY STAR® Certied Homes program, established in 1996
as a joint eort of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) and DOE, provides both a rating certication program
and energy eciency training for its 8,400 high-performance
builder partners (as of 2010). As a result of program rigor,
national brand recognition, and established training quality
and qualications of third party Home Energy Raters (HERS),
ENERGY STAR certication has become a core component of
many green building programs. e ENERGY STAR program
maintains a focus on building science and the analysis of the
building as an integrated energy system. It is worth noting
that ENERGY STAR for Homes has implemented a ‘version 3’
update, not considered here, which expands the scope of the
program’s focus, currently on thermal envelope and HVAC
systems, to encompass indoor air quality, water distribution
and renewable energy. ENERGY STAR is a U.S. EPA voluntary
program that helps businesses and individuals save money and
protect our climate through superior energy eciency. Learn
more at energystar.gov.
Other green building rating certication programs include
LEED® BD+C: Homes/LEED® BD+C: Multifamily Midrise,
and e National Green Building Standard (NGBS). e U.S.
Green Building Council’s LEED® green building program is a
leading program for the design, construction, maintenance and
operations of high-performance green buildings. Learn more
at usgbc.org/LEED. While both programs incorporate similar
criteria for green building practices, they dier in the emphasis
and accountability for these practices, mostly due to the
dierences in their origination and user base: AIA architects for
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | 11
LEED and NAHB Contractors for the NGBS. e NGBS is the
only residential green building program that has been approved
by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) process
as a standard, which is an important rst step of the process to
building code adoption.
e EarthCra program, created in 1999 by a partnership
between Southface Energy Institute, the Greater Atlanta
Homebuilders Association and the homebuilding industry, is
regionally-specic to the Southeast United States. According
to the program’s website, it “introduces green building to the
construction industry in a way that could be easily integrated
into the building process,” making it quite accessible to builders.
Since 1999, EarthCra has become one of the largest regional
systems in the country.
Dening High-Performance
Green Building is gaining acceptance as a sign of excellence
in the trade, limiting the options in the market for rms who
cannot bring these skills to a building project (McCoy, O’Brien,
et al., 2012). Energy prices, regulation and health or safety
concerns are all factors that increase the need for the adoption of
energy ecient and ‘green’ practices in the building construction
eld. A powerful and vital tool for achieving the adoption of
these practices is to increase the ability for complete analysis,
rather than isolated analysis, in building trades and related rms.
Such a summary measure would enable stakeholders responsible
for the creation and maintenance of the built environment
to make informed decisions regarding energy eciency and
green building options, and to communicate these new options
eectively across the supply chain.
In contrast, others have realized the importance of dening tools
of performance for their industry. Metrics such as the Home
Energy Rating System Index (HERS) have become central to
customers’ ability to comfortably make purchasing decisions
and trust in these decisions (for example, imagine buying an
automobile without the miles per gallon, or mpg, calculation).
While the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is currently making
strides in this area through its Home Energy Score (www1.eere.
energy.gov/buildings/residential/hes_index.html), no mpg exists
for the homebuilding industry - let alone a Corporate Average
Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard to drive future behavior.
By exploring concepts of performance within the realm of
residential construction, this research can better inform
energy eciency policies for aordable housing development.
According to Adomatis (2010), “the concept of ensuring
performance in housing contains roots in the business concepts
of quality and customer satisfaction” (Adomatis, 2010).
Performance is integral to the assurance of quality in housing,
which might in turn lead to satisfaction. Quality is subjective,
though, and may be understood dierently by consumers within
and across markets. Summary measures of performance reduce
speculation of quality for a product/service, a major barrier in
the adoption and diusion of green technology.
High-Performance Housing
Many have attempted to dene high-performance housing, oen
contributing to confusion for the market. While designers and
builders might dene high performance buildings as ones that
use innovative appliances and technologies, Turner and Vaughn
(2012) warns a high performance house is not necessarily a “high
tech” one (sensors and programmable appliances and equipment
are likely to be common features in the near future). e current
12 | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
building sustainability literature considers consensus-based
metrics (i.e., LEED, NGBS) to evaluate features in a green
building project related to specic key indicators (i.e. energy
eciency, IAQ, site use, and others). Building performance
is another focus area in the sustainable building literature
that examines energy consumption, utilities, operations and
maintenance, and occupant health (Fowler, et al., 2005), making
it critical to evaluate the designed building’s performance
aerconstruction.
It seems necessary given the array of rating systems and their
diering emphases to dene terms for performance in buildings
and, as a subset, homes. Lewis, et al., (2010) dened a green
building as one “that is designed, constructed and operated
to minimize environmental impacts and maximize resource
eciency while also balancing cultural and community
sensitivity” (Lewis, et al., 2010). In the same article, sustainability
is dened as development that meets the needs of the present,
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet
their own needs. As some may argue that these denitions are
more theoretical than practical, within industry these denitions
have oen been applied while considering the triple bottom line:
balancing environmental, economic, and social goals (Hodges,
2005; Lewis, et al., 2010).
e h edition of e Dictionary of Real Estate Appraisal
(2010) describes green design and construction as the
“practice of developing new structures and renovating existing
structures using equipment, materials, and techniques that help
achieve long-term balance between extraction and renewal
and between environmental inputs and outputs, causing
no overall net environmental burden or decit” (Appraisal
Institute, 2010). e United States Energy Independence and
Security Act (2007), dened a high performance building as
“a building that integrates and optimizes on a lifecycle basis
all major high performance attributes, including energy
[and water] conservation, environment, safety, security,
durability, accessibility, cost-benet, productivity, sustainability,
functionality, and operational considerations.
Just as in commercial building, a high performance home might
be a certied home but every certied home is not necessarily
a high performing one. According to Korkmaz, et al., (2010),
green, sustainable, and high-performance homes are designed
and constructed to maximize the energy eciency of the
envelope, mechanical and lighting systems to provide superior
quality in the indoor environment for enhancing occupant
well-being (Korkmaz, et al., 2010). Such buildings are being
widely adopted for their potential to reduce energy costs and
improve the health and productivity of occupants. For example,
Talbot (2012) and Turner and Vaugh (2012) pointed out high
performance housing characteristics for low to middle-income
households as requiring planning, creative and innovative
design, and ecient implementation. A high-performance
house may also need to t into federal and state goals, local
law or others’ needs (the home buyer, architect, builder
ormanufacturer).
High-performance houses are not necessarily easy to embrace,
either. One of the primary barriers in the market is the owner’s
perception of higher rst costs associated with these homes
due to added personnel hours and use of innovative materials
and technologies (Konchar & Sanvido, 1998). Again, the
process used to deliver green building projects can be a remedy
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | 13
to this problem (Beheiry, Chong, & Haas, 2006; Lapinski,
Horman, & Riley, 2006). Dening green building systems and
performance could alleviate risks and remedy concerns for
stakeholdersinvolved.
An inclusive and comprehensive denition is rst needed for
high performance in housing. Literature suggests that there
is not a standard denition; all emphasize energy eciency,
sustainability, and environmentally friendly products (Adomatis,
2010, 2012). In general, homes that can be described as high-
performance are: 1) safer and healthier; 2) more energy and
resource ecient; 3) more durable; and 4) more comfortable.
Recent literature suggests that many professionals are now
dening their practices as green without utilizing the prescriptive
systems that avow these methods, though (Quirk, 2012; Tucker,
et al., 2012)). Understanding the gap between prescribed
methods and those that might be considered green best practice
is a necessary step.
Sustainable Development Trends
ere is momentum towards sustainable development within
various industries: construction and development, real estate,
and regulatory organizations. According to a general survey
representing several industries, 94% of all survey respondents
felt trends in sustainable building were growing (Jackson, 2009).
Additionally, many representatives within the construction and
building industry have been exposed to green building projects.
Approximately 67% have completed a LEED or EarthCra
project and 21% plan to pursue a green building certication
(Ahn, et al., 2007). Furthermore, sources of green building
knowledge are expanding; the majority of industry stakeholders
have been exposed to green building knowledge through
conferences, trade publications, internal research, consultants,
and new employees (Ahn, et al., 2007).
From a statistical perspective, ENERGY STAR® Certied Homes
program dominates the rating certication program market,
with more than 126,000 new homes certied in 2010 alone,
bringing the total number of ENERGY STAR qualied homes
to nearly 1.2 million to date. By comparison, LEED® BD+C:
Homes/LEED® BD+C: Multifamily Midrise has a total of 79,665
certied units (total since 2005 pilot program, count updated
8/26/2015) and Home Innovation NGBS Green Certied™ has
certied a total of 36,466 units (since ICC 700 Standard in 2007).
Among the top three, McCoy, et al., (2012) found several barriers
specic to green building rating systems: Training is typically
geared toward a specic rating certication and the tendency is
to focus on earning “points,” rather than the implementation of
broader sustainability concepts. Categorization of points is by
trade, which reinforces a “silo” approach to construction rather
than the integrated approach to sustainability issues; green
building training does not cover production management, or
building systems approaches; Building science training is well
developed in ENERGY STAR certication, but limited in most
green building training (McCoy, et al., 2012). e EarthCra
program does provide building science-based training and
educational resources specic to the Southeast climate.
EarthCra has certied over 35,000 homes (single family homes
and multifamily units) across the Southeast.
Utilization of green building certication programs is growing.
According to the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) 2014
3rd Quarter report, the number of LEED® BD+C: Homes and
14 | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
BD+C: Multifamily Midrise-Certied projects totaled 506
and the number of registered projects totaled 1,088 (Figure 3)
(USGBC, 2014). EarthCra, a Southeast regional green building
program, is also growing, most notably in the multifamily, low-
income housing market. As of March 2015, 35,412 total projects
are certied (Figure 4) (Southface, 2015).
A large portion of the growth in green building is due to
legislative movements towards subsidized housing within the
aordable, low-income housing sector. Green building has
become a fundamental component to QAPs (Fuhry, 2013).
In 2013, approximately three quarters of all state agencies
incorporated smart growth and responsible property investing
into their QAPs. ese principles place emphasis on transit-
oriented development, energy eciency standards, and urban
regeneration and redevelopment. More than half of state agencies
have also included resource conservation and health protection
policies into their QAPs (Fuhry, 2013). To qualify a project
for LIHTC, a builder or developer must meet the state’s QAP
requirements. By 2013, QAP funding for aordable housing
projects were allocated the most to smart growth principles and
energy eciency (Figure 5).
Green Premiums and Return on
Investments
Perceptions of upfront costs on green services and products
have clouded the hard facts of investing in green building
elements due to the lack of data, particularly long-term data.
Perceptions have led to the belief that green premiums tend
to be 11% greater for LEED and ENERGY STAR® projects
(Jackson, 2009). However, hard facts have driven conclusion that
with experienced developers and builders, LEED construction
Figure 3: Number of LEED® BD+C: Homes/LEED® BD+C: Multifamily Midrise Certified and Registered Projects
2004 to 2014 (USGBC, 2015)
0
200
400
600
800
1000
1200
Platinum
Certied
1088
506
249
146
57
Gold
Certied
Silver
Certied
CertiedRegisteredAll certied levels
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
0
5000
10000
15000
20000
25000
30000
Light CommercialMultifamily House Renovation Communities
26388
8360
16
606
20152014201320122011
Figure 4: Number of EarthCraft Certified Projects 2011 to March 2015 (Southface, 2015)
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | 15
premiums can be as low as 1%, and ENERGY STAR can be as
low as 0.5% (Figure 6) (Jackson, 2009).
Looking more closely at LEED certication-levels and their
average green premium costs, merely 1.84% of construction costs
have a premium associated with installation of green elements
(Figure 7) (Ahn, et al., 2007).
Initial upfront costs for green construction projects are indeed
greater than traditional construction projects, but cost-benets
are achievable on the operational side. For example, LEED
and ENERGY STAR buildings oen command higher rental
rates, have lower vacancy rates, and have higher resale values
(Choi, 2009). Rent premiums can range from 4.4% to 51%
and occupancy premiums can range from 4.2% to 17.9%
(Jackson,2009).
90%
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
50
55
45
40
35
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
2006
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Smart
Energy
Resource
Health
Average
Figure 5: QAP Trends (2006 – 2013) (Global Green QAP Analysis, Fuhry, 2013)
Level of Green Standard Average Green Cost Premium Number of Study
LEED 1 - Certified 0.66% 8
LEED 2 - Silver 2.11% 18
LEED 3 - Gold 1.82% 6
LEED 4 - Platinum 6.50% 1
Average of 33 Buidings 1.84% Total: 33 studies
Source: USGBC, Capital E Analysis (Kats 2003a)
Figure 7: Level of Green Standard and Average Green Cost Premium (USGBC, 2003; Ahn, et al., 2007)
Figure 6: Incremental Costs of Sustainability Certification as a
Percentage of Construction Cost (Jackson, 2009)
Low Mean High
LEED 1.0 3.0 5.0
ENERGY STAR 0.5 1.5 2.5
Experienced green developers have found ways to incorporate
green elements into their aordable housing projects in cost
eective ways. Many experienced developers carefully select sites
to benet costs, by choosing a site that is walkable to transit and
services. Also, some developers have been able to invest in water
conservation elements for each aordable housing unit with as
little as $83 per unit. In general, projects with higher return on
investments and shorter payback periods are achieved through
ecient systems and thus lower utility costs (Enterprise, 2012).
16 | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
Figure 8: Comparison of Operating Expenses (price per square foot) between ENERGY STAR and
Non-ENERGY STAR Buildings
Operating Expense Electricity Gas Water Waste Removal
The Subject Group:
ENERGY STAR Buildings 1.84 0.14 0.13 0.07
The Peer Group:
Non-ENERGY STAR Buildings 2.19* 0.22* 0.15 0.07
*Note: The number is significantly different from the Subject Group at the 10% level. (Miller, et al., 2010)
Reduction of Operations and
MaintenanceCosts
One of the greatest benets of integrating sustainability
features into multifamily housing is the reduced operating and
maintenance costs. Operation and maintenance expenses include
utilities (electricity, gas, water, and waste removal), cleaning
practices, any type of energy-saving device usage, and anything
else that is required to run the building and procedures (Miller,
et al., 2010). Including all sustainability measures during the
design and construction phases reduces both maintenance
and operating costs. Incorporating eciency in infrastructure,
downsizing mechanical and electrical equipment, taking
advantage of as much natural light as possible, installing low ow
and no ow plumbing xtures, using reclaimed and recycled
materials, and much more can all positively impact the operating
and maintenance expenses (Nalewaik, 2009).
Buildings implementing green building measures such as
intentional site design and solar orientation can reduce their
energy use by 10-40% (Wollos, 2011). e benets of reduced
operating costs found in green aordable housing reach
beyond energy eciency. Aordable housing developments
implementing green design and construction measures show an
increase in resident retention (Campbell, 2014). Retaining high
quality residents not only improves the overall quality of the
community, but can save building owners substantial amounts of
money, time and stress.
When comparing ENERGY STAR® and LEED buildings, the
operating costs are evaluated dierently because of the program
dierences. ENERGY STAR focuses on energy performance,
whereas LEED addresses a breadth of sustainability aspects
including: energy performance, community integration, site
planning, etc. (Miller, et al., 2010). A variety of studies between
ENERGY STAR and non-ENERGY STAR buildings have shown
that operating expenses are lower for ENERGY STAR buildings
(Figure 8). ese numbers reect all energy ecient aspects
installed in each building.
is reduction in costs increases cash ow for property
management. e lower the operating costs, the stronger the
cash ow becomes (Pivo, 2013). In one case study, a building
retrot when compared to conventional buildings of similar
size, used 42% less energy and 34% less water (Nalewaik, 2009),
thereby reducing their operating costs. In the same case study,
sustainable landscaping and water conservation reduced the
amount of time and money spent maintaining the property,
which further reduced costs and increased savings.
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | 17
Reduction of Tenant Turnover and
CrimeRates
In addition to a reduction in individual and business operating
costs, access to intentional greenspace, such as tree-canopied
courtyards and community gardens, in multifamily housing
developments has been correlated with a reduction in crime and
an improvement of individual and community connectivity. For
example, intentional vegetation draws people outside, creates
a space for interaction and can increase residents’ informal
surveillance of the area (Kuo, 2001; APA, 2003).
An extensive study shows that levels of aggression and violence
were systematically lower for individuals living in properties with
intentionally landscaped surroundings than individuals living
in barren surroundings; moreover, lack of nature signicantly
predicted levels of mental fatigue, which in turn signicantly
predicted aggression (Kuo, 2001).Total crime in complexes with
high vegetation (mature trees and grass) was more than 55%
lower on average, than when compared to complexes with low
vegetation, or barren courtyards (Figure 9) (Kuo, 2001).
Even slight reductions in violent and property crime rates
can have substantial impacts on resident, property and civic
costs. In 2010, violent crime (murder, rape, assault and
robbery) cost Americans more than $42 billion in direct costs
(Shapiro,etal.,2012).
From the above, it is easy to recognize the quantitative benets
linked with access to natural settings. Numerous studies report
the extensive positive impacts of access to natural settings and
daylight such as: promoting neurological health, improving
moods, reduction of attention decit hyperactivity disorder
(ADHD), increased healing, increased alertness and reducing
stress (Beatley, 2011; Heerwagen, 2009).
e qualitative impacts of green building reach far beyond
the site. Occupants living in multifamily residences having
undergone recent green standard renovations have reported
improvements in their quality of life such as enhanced comfort,
quietness and operating performance (Bradshaw, et al., 2005).
ese benets have been linked to a tighter building envelope,
increased ventilation and better HVAC requirements found in
green design and construction (Breysse, et al., 2011). In addition,
enhanced material standards in green buildings, reduced
exposure to overall toxins (Bradshaw, et al., 2005), further
improves the quality of life for residents. When evaluating the
actual monetary-impact of green building, it is important to
realize that the seemingly qualitative benets associated with
building improvements have dramatic quantitative monetary
benets as well.
Low Medium High
VEGETATION
Total Crimes
LowMedium High
VEGETATION
Property Crimes
Low Medium High
VEGETATION
Violent Crimes
Figure 9: Mean Number of Crimes Reported per Building for Apartment Buildings with Different Amounts of
Vegetation (each icon represents one reported crime)
18 | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
Other Challenges
A signicant barrier to quantify upfront green development costs
and payback periods can be attributed to the lack of knowledge
and information. ese knowledge gaps are outcomes from
unreliable performance metrics and inadequate data collection.
In order to justify initial investments for green projects, the
industry stakeholders and consumers need to be more informed
with such hard facts and data (Choi, 2009). A second challenge
the industry faces is ensuring an eective strategy to educate
residents on the importance of how to appropriately operate the
less visible features of a home, such as HVAC systems, and not
the immediate, visible and more aesthetic features of the home.
Since many uninformed consumers and residents are responsible
for operating building systems, operating and maintenance
costs can be costly when the systems are not used as designed
(Choi,2009; Watson, 2009).
In addition to having educated contractors, managers and
residents, relationships between these groups need to be strong
and allow for information to pass through communication
channels. For example, during the green aordable housing
development process, many players are involved, including
third parties; therefore roles and responsibilities are dispersed,
especially if the project is new construction with multiple
phases. Due to the amount of players involved, number of
phases within the project, and experience levels with green
building practices, there is a large amount of disparity within
stakeholder relationships (Watson, 2009). Despite this common
challenge, it is important to highlight the potential nancial and
qualitative benets that an integrated design and participatory
process can have on green aordable housing development.
Collaboration with developers, operators, design, construction
and public health professionals as well as residents throughout
the design and construction process continues to hold promise
for improved health, quality of life and optimized energy
conservation (Breysse, et al., 2011).
Another challenge green aordable housing developers,
builders and contractors face includes federal, state, and local
regulations. Developers and builders planning to attain LIHTC
are subject to more stringent requirements. Developments that
are publicly funded are subject to more stringent requirements
under regulations when compared to conventionally nanced
developments (Watson, 2009). Complexities increase due
to variation in regulations on a state level due to a lack of
consistency between each state’s regulations, goals and incentives
(Watson, 2009).
Lastly, investment recovery issues can arise throughout a green
aordable housing development's lifespan. e initial upfront
costs to implement sustainability features are higher than
conventional aordable housing developments (Watson, 2009),
although the literature shows it as marginal. Furthermore, return
on investment for developers who install more expensive and
ecient HVAC systems can be absent if they are not paying the
utility costs aer occupancy, but the proportion of rent vs. utility
allowance can be increased with more ecient units and lower
utility costs.
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | 19
Methodology
e research team considered existing peer-reviewed literature,
research papers, reports, policies and planning documents
related to: aordable housing, sustainable development, green
building, operations and maintenance, energy and water
eciency, construction and development costs, green premiums,
and return on investment. e literature review and stakeholder
engagement with industry professionals and associations
shaped the research methods, scope, goals and assumptions.
A project advisory committee consisting of 7 members with
professional backgrounds in multifamily aordable housing
development, construction, property management, housing
nance administration, academia/research, and consulting
was formed to provide insight and feedback into the project
scope, methods and research outcomes. e background
research and discussions with advisory committee members
and other stakeholders determined that additional investigation
and research is necessary to enhance our understanding on
the ecacy of sustainable development and green building to
produce triple bottom line benets for developers, managers,
administrators and residents of multifamily aordable housing
in the Southeast U. S., specically Alabama, Georgia, North
Carolina and South Carolina. ese states are selected due to
their adjacent geographic locations, variation in eciency and
sustainability incentives or requirements in their respective
Qualied Allocation Plans (QAPs), consistency in building
energy code adoption and climate zones, similar population
demographics, organizational experience and network, and
mission-based values to conduct research and impact policy in
the Southeast region.
Research participants or multifamily aordable developments
and their associated owners and managers are identied
by reviewing recent QAP and Low-Income Housing Tax
Credit (LIHTC) awards during the years of 2009-2012, and
outreach to the housing nance agencies (HFAs), to ensure
that participating properties are: subsidized as aordable with
resident income and rent-restrictions, recently constructed,
have at least 12 months of occupancy and utility consumption
history, consistency with regard to adopted building energy
code and period of economic pricing for goods and services
related to construction materials and contract labor. Participants
are also identied by development activity across state lines
in an attempt to have consistency with regard to construction
and development in the sample. Additionally, developments
are identied based upon their holding of a green building
certication, specically EarthCra, ENERGY STAR® Certied
Homes program and LEED green building program. For the
purposes of this study, green building certication systems are
dened as a type of rating system that rates or rewards relative
levels of compliance or performance with specic environmental
goals and requirements that go above and beyond the respective
jurisdictions' adopted energy code and any related amendments.
Achieving a desired level of certication is dependent upon
third party verication and testing of installed measures
selected in the particular certication program. ese green
building certication programs are selected due to prevalence
in the selected states and respective QAPs as credit scoring
incentives or requirements. As Southface is a provider and
administrator for the aforementioned green building programs,
an organizational project database and network has been
reviewed for eligible participants. For comparative purposes,
developments that do not have a green building certication,
classied in this study as non-green, have been identied.
20 | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
Aspecied resident type (senior vs. family), geographic area
(urban vs. rural) and construction type (new construction vs.
rehab) are not included as initial eligibility requirements due
to the impending diculties to identify, recruit and select the
desired number of developments.
Nearly two dozen eligible development companies were
identied according to the qualications above. Eligible
developers were contacted via phone and email to determine if
they have developments in their portfolio that meet the project
qualications, interest in evaluating the performance of their
properties and the capacity to support the project data collection
eorts. A total of 16 development companies were contacted
directly, although numerous others were indirectly contacted
through industry and association outreach assistance. Seven
development companies agreed to participate in the study. e
research team did not provide a budget to support the sta hours
necessary for collection and distribution of data resources by the
development and property management companies. e research
team guaranteed that all data and personal information collected
would be kept private and anonymized in the report.
e research team set a goal of having at least four developments
per state and an even distribution of green and non-green
developments, for a total of 16 developments. Eighteen
multifamily aordable developments participated in the study,
two more than anticipated, and 16 were included in the cost
analysis. e two rehab developments that were included in
the total sample – Green 1 and Green HR, are excluded from
the cost analysis on development/construction, operations and
maintenance and energy consumption. Totalling nine green
developments and 16 overall developments undergoing cost
analysis. e rehab developments have been removed from
the full cost analysis due to signicant dierences in building
characteristics and cost. However, survey data includes responses
from all 11 green developments, including the two rehab
developments.
e research team was not able to recruit an even number of
green and non-green developments and not all states have the
same number of developments, as seen in development summary
Figures 15 and 16. e variability in developments is a result
of respective state QAP incentives, requirements for green
building certication, and both successful and unsuccessful
recruitment eorts with development companies in particular
states. For instance, the state with the most robust incentives
and requirements for green building, Georgia, has the most
representation of green building certications, whereas Alabama,
a state with no incentives for green building certication has only
non-green developments.
e data presented in this report is collected directly from
the developers, contractors, property managers and residents
of the sample developments, and adjusted minimally for
comparative purposes. e sample data varies with development
characteristics, but is more apparent in some than others.
Variability is particularly evident when comparing gross square
footage and number of units amongst individual developments
and across states for green and non-green developments.
Consistency of the sample is reasonable with regard to placed-
in-service year, QAP award year, urban/rural, building type,
construction type, resident type and state electricity averages.
Dierences related to geography and location such as labor
costs and materials have been accounted for by the research
team as best as possible. For instance, site development varies
signicantly when comparing green to non-green developments
and is excluded from the cost analysis. In order to maintain
consistency of the sample and analysis, location modiers,
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | 21
regional and state averages are applied to the development
characteristics and analysis as appropriate.
Participating developers and associated property management
companies provided the following information and data
resources:
Development & Construction Costs
HFA Cost Certications
AIA G702
Surveys (SurveyGizmo)
Development & Construction
Construction & Specications
Property Management
Resident - HUD Standard
Operations & Maintenance Costs
Budget Reports
Financial Statements
Account Audits
Utility Account Tracking (WegoWise)
WegoWise Building Template
Resident-Paid Accounts - HUD Standard
»Utility Account Release Form
Owner-Paid Accounts (common areas and
mastermeters)
In order to assess perceptions and administrative impact,
multifamily nance and development directors of the state HFAs
applicable to the study completed an HFA-specic survey.
e U.S. “HUD standard” multifamily sampling rate
1 is used in
data collection eorts related to surveying and collecting utility
data from residents.
WegoWise, or Wego (for Water, Electric, Gas and Oil) is an
online tool that tracks, monitors and analyzes water and energy
use for single buildings and entire portfolios.2 WegoWise is
used to track and analyze at least 12 months of utility data on
cost and consumption for in-unit (resident) and common area
(owner)accounts.
Developers, property managers and residents received detailed
instructions on how to best complete the collection and delivery
of the data resources. Materials such as online and print versions
of surveys, WegoWise Building Template, utility account release
forms, on-site yers and record keeping sheets were provided to
property managers. Once developer-owners provided consent
to participate in the study, the majority of interactions on data
collection eorts involved the regional and site managers for the
properties. Property managers were provided gi cards to award
to residents who participated in the sample by completing a
survey and utility account release form.
For so costs described below and analyzed in this study,
the team relied heavily on the breakdowns listed in the cost
certication document, as no other standard set of so costs
was available. e cost certications itemize costs for each
1 portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=lbph-39.pdf
2 blog.wegowise.com/2011-06-03-what-is-wegowise
22 | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
development outside of the hard costs attributed to the direct
construction process which are contained within AIA G702s.
ese so costs are delineated in the study as:
1) Contractor Services (includes overhead, prot, and
general requirements);
2) Professional Services (includes architectural and
engineering subcontracts, for example);
3) Pre-Development (includes market studies, environmental
reports, site surveys, property/site appraisal and
inspections);
4) Site Development (includes site improvements and
preparations);
5) Construction Financing (includes construction period
nancing such as the loan fee, loan interest, legal fee,
insurance, and real estate tax);
6) Permits and Fees (local government fees, permanent
nancing fees);
7) Developer Fees; and
8) Start-up and Reserve Fees (marketing, rent-up reserves,
operating decit reserve, replacement reserve, third party
certication) for the development.
Regarding detailed secondary costs for the operation and
maintenance (O&M) of properties, the research team divided
costs into basic areas that we considered important, but that
could also be reported reasonably by managers of buildings.
ese areas include:
1) Total Annual O&M Cost;
2) Total Maintenance Cost;
3) Total Utilities Cost; and
4) Total Administrative Cost.
All so and hard hosts are compared as totals and normalized by
gross square footage (sf) in the development.
When comparing hard and so costs across projects, the project
team elected to use the Construction Specications Institute
(CSI) Master Format system. CSI Master Format organizes
buildings into “divisions of work” as separate components of
a complete construction scope of work and the direct costs
involved. ese divisions allow our work to also compare locally
or nationally on average.
For multifamily projects, RS Means costs data organizes the
CSI Master Format as six major areas of construction work or
hardcosts:
1) Substructure;
2) Shell;
3) Interiors;
4) Services;
5) Equipment and Furnishings;
6) Special Construction; and
7) Other.
All hard costs that do not t within these areas of work are listed
as “other” (#7) hard costs for our research. Figure 10 provides
some examples of each area of the divisions of work related to
hard construction costs.
Researchers used RS Means to compare regional data from
green-certied and non-green buildings to national averages.
RS Means contains non-green and green costs for various
project types, of which the costs provided correspond with
the CSI Master Format divisions of work. Non-green costs are
available for both low-rise (typical size 22,500 sf) and mid-rise
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | 23
(typical size 60,000 sf) multifamily apartment buildings;
however, RS Means does not provide such costs for green low-
rise and mid-rise multifamily apartment buildings. In order
to provide a comparison of the sample development costs to
green national averages as well as non-green national averages,
a “green modier” has been created by identifying the increase
or decrease in typical costs across green vs. non-green projects
reported by RS Means. More specically, the green and non-
green development costs included in RS Means and considered
to represent multifamily apartment buildings most accurately
out of the green and non-green costs available from RS Means
are used to create the modier, with that being a low-rise and
mid-rise college dormitory. is modier is then applied to the
non-green low-rise and mid-rise apartment building costs given
by RS Means in order to estimate the green costs for each type of
development by CSI division. In summary, non-green national
average costs are reported directly from RS Means, while the
green national average costs are estimated using the “green
modier” developed by the project team.
It was also necessary to adjust national averages accordingly for
location as well as size to ensure a more accurate comparison
was being made. RS Means provides a location cost modier
that adjusts the national average cost given to a specic city. If a
city being included in the study is not reported by RS Means, the
closest location available is used instead. For example, the location
of Green 7, does not have a location cost modier reported
in RS Means to appropriately adjust the cost. In this case, the
closest city available with a location cost modier was used, that
being Raleigh, NC. When adjusting for size, a size cost modier
provided by RS Means is similarly used and applied to the costs
to gain a more accurate national average estimate. To attain this
modier, rst, each development’s total square footage is divided
by the typical size for each development type, either low-rise
Figure 10: RS Means Division of Work
DIVISION OF WORK EXAMPLE
Substructure Foundations, Basements, Walls and Slab-on-grade.
Shell Floor and Roof construction, Exterior Walls, Windows, Doors, and Roof
Openings/Coverings.
Interiors Partitions, Doors, Stairs, Finishes, Flooring and Ceilings.
Services Elevators and Escalators, Plumbing, HVAC, Electrical and Fire Protection.
Equipment and Furnishings Commercial, Institutional, Vehicular and Other Equipment.
Special Construction Integrated or Prefabricated Construction and Special Facilities.
Other Features outside of typical specifications and code for standard, new
construction.
(22,500 sf) or mid-rise (60,000 sf ). is provides a size factor that
is then used to identify the appropriate size costmodier.
Figures 11 and 12 depict the values used to calculate national
average costs that are used to compare each development. e RS
Means Cost is multiplied by the size cost modier and location
cost modier to obtain the nal adjusted RS Means cost. e
nal non-green development costs vs. nal adjusted RS Means
non-green development costs, and the nal adjusted RS Means
green costs vs. each green development cost is reported in the
ndings section.
Utility consumption and cost data for energy, water and natural
gas (one building meter) is collected via the WegoWise Building
Template and utility account release forms for owner and
resident-paid accounts respectively. Additionally, the template
is used to sync online utility accounts with WegoWise and to
track entire building meters for owner-paid water and common
24 | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
Figure 11: RS Means Green Average Cost
Development
Name
RSMeans Green
Modified Hard
Cost / sf
Typical Size
Gross sf
Size
Factor
Size Cost
Modifier
Location Cost
Modifier
Green 2 $139.21 22,500 3.37 0.91 0.80
Green 3 $139.21 22,500 8.99 0.90 0.87
Green 4 $139.21 22,500 3.07 0.915 0.80
Green 5 $140.34 60,000 1.85 0.95 0.86
Green 6 $140.34 60,000 1.72 0.96 0.86
Green 7 $139.21 22,500 3.31 0.91 0.86
Green 8 $139.21 22,500 1.81 0.95 0.80
Green 9 $139.21 22,500 2.12 0.935 0.80
Green 10 $139.21 22,500 3.79 0.90 0.85
Figure 12: RS Means Non-Green Average Cost
Development
Name
RSMeans
Non-Green
Cost / sf
Typical
Gross sf
Size
Factor
Size Cost
Modifier
Location Cost
Modifier
Non-Green 1 $128.98 22,500 1.79 0.96 0.75
Non-Green 2 $128.98 22,500 2.66 0.92 0.72
Non-Green 3 $128.98 22,500 2.56 0.92 0.81
Non-Green 4 $128.98 22,500 2.07 0.94 0.75
Non-Green 5 $128.98 22,500 4.85 0.90 0.76
Non-Green 6 $128.98 22,500 2.79 0.915 0.94
Non-Green 7 $128.98 22,500 2.65 0.92 0.79
area (community space, corridors and maintenance) meters
for electricity. However, it should be noted that water data is
excluded from our data analysis due to missing information
and unveried data across the sample. Our team obtained
in-unit data from resident-paid electric accounts through the
utility account release form. In the absence of an online utility
account, the research team registered dummy accounts with
the utility service provider when online access to utility data
history is available, typically unavailable in rural locations. When
online utility account history was unavailable, the property
management companies provided detailed usage reports in order
to manually upload 12 months of data. Once the researchers
collected and registered all utility accounts from the owner-
manager and residents, the team uploaded the accounts to
WegoWise for tracking and benchmarking.
e research team developed surveys for all aordable housing
stakeholder groups in order to solicit both qualitative data with
regard to experience and perception, as well as quantitative data
related to development and construction, administration, and
operations and maintenance. Online and print versions of the
surveys were made available. Respondents to the Developer/
Builder, Construction and Specications, Property Management
and HFA surveys completed online versions via Survey
Gizmo. More than half of the 648 resident surveys collected
were completed in print and scanned for entry into the online
system by the research team, nearly all senior and elderly
residents completed print versions. In terms of respondent
distribution, each property owner and manager for participating
developments completed an applicable survey and surveys
were also distributed to a larger pool of unaliated multifamily
aordable property owners and managers to increase the sample
size and response rate. e number of resident surveys to be
completed per development is determined by the total number
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | 25
Figure 13: Project Task Timeline
Description Timeframe
Preliminary Analysis July 2014 - September 2014
Partner Recruitment & Engagement July 2014 - February 2015
Research Design September 2014 - February 2015
Development Identification & Data Access October 2014 - August 2015
Data Collection & Research Analysis January 2015 - August 2015
Final Report July 2015 - August 2015
Stakeholder / Industry Communications July 2014 - August 2015
of units and the “HUD standard” (ex. 100 total units = 45 units
to be sampled). It should be noted that not all developments
achieved the desired sampling rate and some developments
exceeded the requested sample size. e various surveys used in
the study are described in the ndings section. Sample versions
of the survey instruments can be found in the Appendix.
Accessing and collecting data was the most time consumptive
process of the project, particularly with regard to resident
surveys and utility accounts. In the absence of mandatory
property management requirements for residents to complete
surveys and utility account release forms as requested, it was
exceedingly dicult for some properties to complete the
necessary sample size, even with a gi card incentive and
privacy guarantee to not share any personal information and
anonymous results. Diculty in collecting data was not exclusive
to residents. Property owners (developers) and managers had
diculty gathering and completing utility account information
and building characteristics that are necessary to upload data
and information to WegoWise in order to track utility data.
e majority of owners and managers are not familiar with
utility tracking and benchmarking soware, and some technical
assistance was necessary.
Figure 13 displays the project timeline for completing the
research project tasks as described.
e map on the next page (Figure 14) shows the geographic
distribution of participating developments, green and non-green
status, and a base layer displaying median household income.
e research team evaluated data on development, construction
and operational costs for both green-certied and non-green
developments in four Southeastern states: Alabama, Georgia,
North Carolina and South Carolina. As seen in Figures
15 and 16, a total of 18 developments participated in the
research project. We excluded two of the 11 green-certied
developments. ese two green developments are the only
renovation properties represented in the sample; therefore, the
research team determined that the work scope and performance
dierences between new and rehabilitated properties oered
too many variables to directly compare construction and utility
data. However, survey responses from developers, property
managers and residents of the two green renovation properties
have not been excluded from the survey results. A total of 16
developments, ninegreen building program certied and seven
non-green are included in the full study analysis.
ese 16 developments undergoing full analysis are
characterized by a range of square footages between 40,000
sf and 200,000+ sf, apartment units range between 40 and
more than 150, urban/rural locations, family/senior resident
types, low-rise and mid-rise building types and state electricity
averages (U.S. EIA). e study sample contains a high amount
of variability from dissimilarities of building characteristics and
geographic location, and as such, there are limitations to the
26 | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
Green Develo
p
ment
Non-Green Develo
p
ment
Non-Green 3
Non-Green 2
Non-Green 5
Non-Green 4
Non-Green1
Green3 and Green HR*
Green1*
Green 10
Green 8and Green 9
Green 5 and Green 6
Green7
Non-Green 6
Non-Green 7
Green 2
Green 4
Figure 14: Green and Non-Green Developments Map
*Green 1 and Green HR are excluded from the cost (construction, O&M and utility) analysis
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | 27
Figure 15: Green Developments Characteristics
Name Certification Placed in
Service
QAP Award
Year State Urban/
Rural3Gross sf Number
of Units
Building
Type
Construction
Type
Resident
Type State Electricity Avg.4
Green 1* EarthCraft &
ENERGY STAR 2012 2009 GA Rural 32,830 46 Low-Rise Acquisition
Rehab Elderly
1,088 kWh/mo.
$0.1146/kWh
$124.67/mo.
Green 2 EarthCraft 2012 2010 GA Rural 75,803 60 Low-Rise New
Construction Family
1,088 kWh/mo.
$0.1146/kWh
$124.67/mo.
Green 3 LEED 2011 2009 GA Urban 202,343 156 Low-Rise New
Construction Family
1,088 kWh/mo.
$0.1146/kWh
$124.67/mo.
Green
HR* LEED 2014 2011 GA Urban 59,368 90 High-Rise Historic Rehab Supportive
Housing
1,088 kWh/mo.
$0.1146/kWh
$124.67/mo.
Green 4 EarthCraft &
LEED 2012 2010 GA Rural 69,075 50 Low-Rise New
Construction Family
1,088 kWh/mo.
$0.1146/kWh
$124.67/mo.
Green 5 EarthCraft 2013 2011 NC Urban 111,000 110 Mid-Rise New
Construction Senior
1,098 kWh/mo.
$0.1097/kWh
$120.52/mo.
Green 6 EarthCraft 2014 2012 NC Urban 103,300 74 Mid-Rise New
Construction Family
1,098 kWh/mo.
$0.1097/kWh
$120.52/mo.
Green 7 ENERGY STAR 2012 2010 NC Rural 74,444 64 Low-Rise New
Construction Senior
1,098 kWh/mo.
$0.1097/kWh
$120.52/mo.
Green 8 EarthCraft 2012 2010 NC Rural 40,720 40 Low-Rise New
Construction Senior
1,098 kWh/mo.
$0.1097/kWh
$120.52/mo.
Green 9 ENERGY STAR 2011 2009 NC Rural 47,784 40 Low-Rise New
Construction Family
1,098 kWh/mo.
$0.1097/kWh
$120.52/mo.
Green 10 ENERGY STAR 2012 2011 SC Urban 85,327 60 Low-Rise New
Construction Family
1,124 kWh/mo.
$0.1199/kWh
$134.86/mo.
*Green 1 and Green HR are excluded from the cost (construction, O&M and utility) analysis
3 www.census.gov/geo/reference/ua/urban-rural-2010.html
4 www.eia.gov/electricity/sales_revenue_price/xls/table5_a.xls
28 | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
Figure 16: Non-Green Developments Characteristic
Name Placed in
Service
QAP Award
Year State Urban/
Rural Gross sf Number
of Units
Building
Type
Construction
Type
Resident
Type State Electricity Avg.
Non-Green 1 2012 2011 AL Rural 40,367 40 Low-Rise New
Construction Elderly
1,211 kWh/mo.
$0.1126/kWh
$136.36/mo
Non-Green 2 2010 2009 AL Rural 59,806 56 Low-Rise New
Construction Elderly
1,211 kWh/mo.
$0.1126/kWh
$136.36/mo.
Non-Green 3 2012 2010 AL Urban 57,613 51 Low-Rise New
Construction Elderly
1,211 kWh/mo.
$0.1126/kWh
$136.36/mo.
Non-Green 4 2011 2009 AL Rural 46,630 40 Low-Rise New
Construction Elderly
1,211 kWh/mo.
$0.1126/kWh
$136.36/mo.
Non-Green 5 2011 2009 AL Urban 109,232 96 Low-Rise New
Construction Family
1,211 kWh/mo.
$0.1126/kWh
$136.36/mo.
Non-Green 6 2011 2009 SC Urban 62,873 46 Low-Rise New
Construction Family
1,124 kWh/mo.
$0.1199/kWh
$134.86/mo.
Non-Green 7 2010 2009 SC Rural 59,543 50 Low-Rise New
Construction Family
1,124 kWh/mo.
$0.1199/kWh
$134.86/mo.
analytical process and data ndings. All properties are privately
owned, operated and subsidized as aordable with income and
rent restrictions, utilizing the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit
(LIHTC) and other local, state (HFA) and federal (HUD) subsidy
programs. All developments are recently constructed and placed
in service (occupied) from 2010-2014 to maintain consistency
with QAP policies, energy code adoption and to ensure at least
12 months of utility data history is available.
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | 29
Findings
e research ndings in this section are categorized into three
subsections. e rst section reviews the results of several
stakeholder surveys intended to gauge participants’ experiences
with and perceptions of green-certied developments. e
second section compares construction, operations and
maintenance costs across our sample to determine the true
cost of green in the Southeastern aordable housing market.
e third section compares one year of utility data (electricity)
for low-income residences in these developments to analyze
the energy performance of the green-certied and non-green
developments.
Stakeholder Surveys
In an eort to understand the perspective of those involved
in the aordable housing process, the research team surveyed
residents, developers, property managers, and housing
nance agency representatives via online and print surveys.
e populations surveyed represent the lifecycle of the
aordable housing process, from nancing through design,
construction, operations, maintenance and the daily use of these
developments. e research team developed surveys to gain an
understanding of each group’s experience with green and non-
green buildings as well as their perceptions related to cost, value
and quality of green building certications in the aordable
housing sector.
Resident Survey – Resident Behavior and
Perceptions on Comfort and Aordability
Determining the perception of residents is a key variable in
understanding aordable housing innovation. Resident behavior
and experience provides valuable feedback and context to this
study, helping to identify how the end-user operates in and
perceives their home. To determine the impact of green building,
we polled 416 residents living in green-certied developments
and 232 residents living in non-green developments. e
following section presents ndings from this survey.
In order to obtain data related to resident experience, the survey
polled residents regarding their experience with their current
and previous housing related to cost, comfort, operations
and satisfaction. A majority of the current residents living in
green-certied aordable housing responding to our survey did
not live in aordable housing previously. When asked if their
previous home was an aordable development, 29% of residents
replied yes, 57% replied no and 14% answered I do not know
(Figure17).
Similarly, a majority of the residents living in conventional or
non-green aordable housing reported not living previously
in aordable housing. When asked if their previous home
was an aordable development, 21% of residents replied yes,
57% replied no, and 22% answered I do not know (Figure 18).
e similarity of responses for residents of green and non-
green developments indicates that the overall sample did not
previously live in an aordable development and establishes
a comparative baseline for questions regarding previous and
current aordability.
In order to determine the performance and characteristics of
their previous home in relation to their current home, the survey
showed that a majority of the residents currently living in green
aordable housing did not previously live in green housing.
30 | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
Figure 17: Is Your Previous Home an Affordable Development? Figure 18: Is Your Previous Home an Affordable Development?
0.0 12.5 25.0 37.5 50.0 62.5 75.0 87.5 100.0
Green HR
Green 10
Green 9
Green 8
Green 7
Green 6
Green 5
Green 4
Green 3
Green 2
Green 1
020406080 100
Non-Green 7
Non-Green 6
Non-Green 5
Non-Green 4
Non-Green 3
Non-Green 2
Non-Green 1
14%
I do not
know
57%
No
29%
Yes
22%
I do not
know
57%
No
21%
Yes
When asked if their previous home was a green development,
5%of residents replied yes, 62% replied no and 33% answered
Ido not know (Figure 19).
Similarly, a majority of residents currently living in non-green
aordable housing also reported not previously living in green
housing. When asked if their previous home was a green
development, 5% of residents replied yes, 71% replied no and
24% answered I do not know (Figure 20).
Survey ndings also suggest that a majority of residents currently
living in green aordable housing consider their green housing
to be much more aordable than their previous home. When
asked about current overall aordability (rent + utilities)
compared to previous home, 62% of residents replied much more
aordable, 31% replied about the same and 7% answered much
less aordable (Figure 21).
A similar, but smaller majority of residents living in conventional
or non-green homes considered their current home to be much
more aordable than their previous. When asked about current
0.0 12.5 25.0 37.5 50.0 62.5 75.0 87.5 100.0
Green HR
Green 10
Green 9
Green 8
Green 7
Green 6
Green 5
Green 4
Green 3
Green 2
Green 1
020406080 100
Non-Green 7
Non-Green 6
Non-Green 5
Non-Green 4
Non-Green 3
Non-Green 2
Non-Green 1
33%
I do not
know
62%
No
5% Yes
24%
I do not
know
71%
No
5% Yes
Figure 19: Is Your Previous Home a Green Development? Figure 20: Is Your Previous Home a Green Development?
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | 31
overall aordability (rent + utilities) compared to previous
home, 51% of residents replied much more aordable, 40%
replied about the same and 9% answered much less aordable
(Figure22).
e majority of residents currently living in green aordable
housing set their personal thermostat between 69 degrees
and 72 degrees in the summer. When asked about personal
thermostat temperature setting (range in degrees Fahrenheit) in
their current home during the summer, 19% of residents replied
68 degrees and below, 43% replied between 69 degrees and
72degrees, 30% replied between 73 degrees and 75 degrees, 5%
replied 76 degrees and above and 3% answered not applicable,
indicating that they did not live in their current home during the
summer (Figure 23).
e majority of residents currently living in conventional or
non-green aordable housing also set their personal thermostat
between 69 degrees and 72 degrees in the summer. When asked
about personal thermostat temperature setting (range in degrees
Fahrenheit) in their current home during the summer, 4% of
residents replied 68 degrees and below, 47% percent replied
0.0 12.5 25.0 37.5 50.0 62.5 75.0 87.5 100.0
Green HR
Green 10
Green 9
Green 8
Green 7
Green 6
Green 5
Green 4
Green 3
Green 2
Green 1
020406080 100
Non-Green 7
Non-Green 6
Non-Green 5
Non-Green 4
Non-Green 3
Non-Green 2
Non-Green 1
7%
Much less aordable
31%
About
the same
62%
Much
more
aordable
9%
Much less aordable
40%
About
the same
51%
Much
more
aordable
Figure 21: Current Overall Affordability (Rent + Utilities)
Compared to Previous Home
Figure 22: Current Overall Affordability (Rent + Utilities)
Compared to Previous Home
0.0 12.5 25.0 37.5 50.0 62.5 75.0 87.5 100.0
Green HR
Green 10
Green 9
Green 8
Green 7
Green 6
Green 5
Green 4
Green 3
Green 2
Green 1
20 40 60 80 100
Non-Green 7
Non-Green 6
Non-Green 5
Non-Green 4
Non-Green 3
Non-Green 2
Non-Green 1
3% N/A
5%
76° and above
30%
73-75°
43%
69-72°
19%
68° and
below
2%
N/A
7%
76° and above
40%
73-75° 47%
69-72°
4%
68° and belo
w
Figure 23: Thermostat Temperature Setting in Current Home
During Summer (°F)
Figure 24: Thermostat Temperature Setting in Current Home
During Summer (°F)
32 | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
0.0 12.5 25.0 37.5 50.0 62.5 75.0 87.5 100.0
Green HR
Green 10
Green 9
Green 8
Green 7
Green 6
Green 5
Green 4
Green 3
Green 2
Green 1
Non-Green 7
Non-Green 6
Non-Green 5
Non-Green 4
Non-Green 3
Non-Green 2
Non-Green 1
2% N/A
19%
76° and
above
41%
73-75°
32%
69-72°
6%
68° and below
5% N/A
18%
76° and
above
41%
73-75°
29%
69-72°
7%
68° and below
Figure 25: Thermostat Temperature Setting in Current Home
During Winter (°F)
Figure 26: Thermostat Temperature Setting in Current Home
During Winter (°F)
0.0 12.5 25.0 37.5 50.0 62.5 75.0 87.5 100.0
Green HR
Green 10
Green 9
Green 8
Green 7
Green 6
Green 5
Green 4
Green 3
Green 2
Green 1
020406080 100
Non-Green 7
Non-Green 6
Non-Green 5
Non-Green 4
Non-Green 3
Non-Green 2
Non-Green 1
6%
Much less satised
26%
About
the
same
68%
Much
more
satised
2%
Much less satised
29%
About
the
same
69%
Much
more
satised
Figure 27: Satisfaction with Current Home (Comfort+Affordability)
Compared to Previous Home
Figure 28: Satisfaction with Current Home (Comfort+Affordability)
Compared to Previous Home
between 69 degrees and 72 degrees, 40% replied between 73
degrees and 75 degrees, 7% replied 76 degrees and above and 2%
answered not applicable (Figure 24).
e majority of residents currently living in green aordable
housing set their personal thermostat between 73 degrees and
75 degrees in the winter. When asked about the temperature
(range in degrees Fahrenheit) they set the personal thermostat
in their current home during the winter, 6% of residents replied
68 degrees and below, 32% replied between 69 degrees and
72degrees, 41% replied between 73 degrees and 75 degrees, 19%
replied 76 degrees and above and 2% answered not applicable
(Figure 25).
e majority of residents currently living in conventional or
non-green aordable housing also set their personal thermostat
between 73 degrees and 75 degrees in the winter. When asked
about the temperature (range in degrees Fahrenheit) they set the
personal thermostat in their current home during the winter, 7%
of residents replied 68 degrees and below, 29% replied between
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | 33
69 degrees and 72 degrees, 41% replied between 73 degrees and
75 degrees, 18% replied 76 degrees and above and 5% answered
not applicable meaning they did not live in their current home
during the winter (Figure 26).
e majority of residents currently living in green aordable
housing are much more satised (in terms of comfort and
aordability) with their green housing. When asked about
current satisfaction (comfort + aordability) compared to
previous home, 68% of residents replied much more satised,
26% replied about the same and 6% answered much less satised
(Figure 27).
A similar majority of residents currently living in conventional
or non-green aordable housing also reported being much more
satised (in terms of comfort and aordability). When asked
about current satisfaction (comfort + aordability) compared
to previous home, 69% of residents replied much more satised,
29% percent replied about the same and 2% answered much less
satised (Figure 28).
Resident Survey Discussion
From the resident surveys, we observe that the majority of
residents’ previous homes are not aordable and that they are, on
average, much more satised in their current units, whether green
or non-green. Fiy percent of the residents reported that their
current non-green units are more aordable in terms of rent and
utilities, and 63% of the residents in green-certied units reported
the same. is shows that while both populations are living more
aordably, a larger proportion of green-building residents reported
cost savings in relation to their previous homes. is may suggest
that residents in the green-certied units are realizing greater cost
savings and a positive impact to their budget.
Occupant behavior appears to be consistent with regards to summer
thermostat temperatures across all properties, with a majority of
the residents setting their thermostat at or below 72 degrees in the
summer months. Additionally, winter thermostat settings for both
groups showed similar results with 41% of all participants, both green
and non-green, setting their thermostats between 73 and 75 degrees.
As a whole, this demonstrates that resident behavior is relatively
uniform across the sample with regard to baseline temperature
preferences and resulting energy usage, indicating consistency
in the sample. Furthermore, it highlights the need for occupant
education of all residents of multifamily aordable housing to help
further reduce the burden of energy costs associated with heating
and cooling as utility costs can comprise 20% of a low-income
household’s income. For example, nearly half of the residents
surveyed of green and non-green developments indicate that they
open windows during fall and spring and also indicate that they
use additional appliances such as fans, space heaters, dehumidiers
and humidiers to increase the comfort of their homes.
What they might not realize is that by properly programming
their personal thermostats and thus their HVAC systems, they
could maintain the desired comfort without spending additional
nances on energy costs and other devices and keep their homes
and buildings operating as designed and constructed. Assuming
that the HVAC system is appropriately sized and installed,
personal thermostats are seasonally programmed and residents
have been educated on how to best use the systems in their
homes; indoor environmental quality concerns, energy costs
and comfort issues such as temperature, moisture, humidity and
allergens should be reasonably mitigated.
34 | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
Developer/Builder Survey – Property
Characteristics and Green Building
Perceptions
Developers and builders involved in LIHTC developments have
dierences of opinion relating to the aordability and viability of
green building certications for aordable housing. e research
team proposed to capture these varying perspectives along with
some industry-specic knowledge to help inform this study.
ere are two sections of the developer/builder survey. e
rst section characterizes the building types and specication
trends for this sample and an understanding of the industry’s
perceptions relating to green building certications. e second
part of the survey collects information associated with typical
direct and indirect costs for LIHTC developments for context
and comparison to the data collected in this study.
Characteristics of the Developer/Builder
Survey Respondents
e survey of developer/builders contains 29 total participants:
nine respondents represent the partner companies that coincide
with the developments used in the study and the remaining 20
are general participants not aliated with the developments.
Based on the company type of these respondents, 48% are
developers, 24% are general contractors, 21% are other and
7% are consultants. Company type “other” as completed by
survey respondents includes: health care parent company with
housing division, green building consultant, owner/developer/
manager, developer and general contractor, electric utility and
non-protdeveloper.
Of the 29 total respondents, 14% list their company role as
design professional, 3% as estimator, 34% as owner/principal,
21% as project manager and 28% as other. When asked to
explain, “other” includes asset manager, development in
the Southeast, project developer, vice president, director of
construction, energy eciency/sales/project management,
director and analyst.
When asked about years of experience with aordable housing
development, the options available are 0-3, 4-7, 8-10 and 11+
years. Of the 25 respondents, 16% list 0-3 years, 72% list 11+
years and 12% list N/A, possibly meaning they do not work
directly in aordable housing development. Of developer/builder
survey respondents, 17% have developed 0-100 units to date,
3% developed 101-500, 28% developed 501-1000 units, 38%
developed 1001+ units and 14% listed “N/A.” Across the sample,
most respondents have developed a large amount of units and
have many years of experience in aordable housing.
When asked about the types of housing they develop, 69% listed
single family detached, 86% mention low-rise multifamily,
52% mention mid-rise multifamily, and 21% mention high-
rise multifamily. Seventeen percent list other, which includes
adaptive re-use and historic buildings for single family detached
and single family using Georgia Department of Community
Aairs multifamily tax credits. Seventeen percent have built
aordable housing in Alabama, 72% in Georgia, 38% in North
Carolina, 38% in South Carolina and 38% listed other. Responses
using the “other” category include: Louisiana, Virginia, Texas,
Tennessee andFlorida.
Finally, our developer/builder survey asks respondents to report
which green building certication programs they have used. e
question is answered by all 29 respondents, and results are out of
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | 35
100% for each category as represented in Figure 29. Regarding
those results, 69% use EarthCra, 55% use ENERGYSTAR®, 7%
use LEED® BD+C: Homes/LEED® BD+C: Multifamily Midrise,
7% use LEED for New Construction, 7% use the National Green
Building Standard and 7% use other. Other includes LEED for
Neighborhood Development and Georgia Power EarthCents. As
before, 17% answer N/A to indicate that their company does not
use green building certication programs.
Non-Green Developer/Builder Property
Characteristics
Whether or not developers are opting to use green building
certication programs for their developments, another indicator
of the industry’s diusion of green building practices is the
trend of installing energy ecient technologies across aordable
homes in their portfolio. e following paragraph categorizes the
frequency with which our participants install green technologies
and equipment in their conventional or non-green properties.
For those developments built to code, out of 27 respondents
(nine study participants and 18 general) 7% indicate that they
sometimes install ENERGY STAR® appliances in their units,
and 93% always install. Eleven percent never install insulation
to above-code levels, while 59% report sometimes and 30%
report always. Regarding high-eciency mechanical equipment,
4% never install to above-code levels, 67% sometimes install
and 30% report always. Approximately 8% never install
high-eciency lighting to above-code levels, approximately
44% sometimes install and 48% report always. Renewable
energy systems are indicated as never being installed 74%
of the time, sometimes they install 26% of the time and zero
report as they always install. On the contrary, to developers/
builders installing renewable energy systems, 19% of above-
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
90%
100%
N/AOtherNational
Green
Building
Standard
(NGBS)
LEED
New
Construction
LEED for
Homes
ENERGY
STAR
EarthCraft
Percentage of Respondens
69%
55%
7% 7% 7% 7%
17%
Figure 29: Green Building Certification Programs Used by Developer/Builders
code windows are neverinstalled, 44% are sometimes installed
and 37% report always installing above-code windows. e
responses to frequency of use for energy eciency measures
such as high-eciency mechanical equipment and above-code
windows indicates that developers, builders and contractors have
substantial experience implementing high eciency technologies
in their developments as a result of section 42 of the Internal
Revenue Code (low-income housing credit) and thus consistent
energy eciency policies in QAPs. If the same policies are
applied to the implementation of renewable energy systems,
then a similar result of increased implementation and experience
should be expected.
36 | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
Green Developer/Builder Motivations and
Characteristics
Another way to measure the industry’s diusion of green
building is to understand the motivations of companies that
adopt green building certication programs. e following
section reports on survey responses regarding motivations
for going green, with 27 respondents, nine of which are study
participants and 18 are general respondents.
Regarding motivations for implementing green technologies
(each answer out of 100% possible), 63% report reduced tenant
utility bills, 59% report reduced operations and maintenance
costs, 48% report building durability (lifecycle), 67% report
commitment to sustainability and 22% report other. “Other”
responses include: “many of these items are required by either
GA/SC [QAP] scoring; rebates and incentives to oset cost;
owner-driven; and nancial program requirements.
Regarding nancial incentive motivations for implementing
green technologies, 8% report municipal incentives, 50% state-
based, 46% federal, 46% percent utility provider, 23% report not
applicable and 8% state other.
Respondents are then asked about whether they recognize capital
premiums for implementing green technologies when using
green building certications compared to conventional or non-
green building. In response, 31% indicate yes, 20% indicate no,
31% I do not know and 12% respond as N/A.
Regarding average payback period (in years) on initial
capital investment for green technologies, 12% say 0-5 years,
15% say 6-10 years, 4% say 11-15 years, 4% say 16+ years.
Surprisingly, 46% respond I do not know and 19% indicate N/A.
Amajorityofour respondents do not evaluate payback periods
for green technologies in their properties.
Next, we ask survey respondents about realizing a return on
investment (ROI) when using green building certication
programs or implementing green technologies. Nineteen percent
of respondents indicate yes, 8% indicate no, 50% indicate I do
not know and 23% indicate N/A. Similarly to payback period,
a majority of respondents also do not know ROI for green
technologies in their properties.
We also asked about average ROI, if any, for all projects that
implement green building certication programs or green
technologies. Twelve percent of respondents indicate 1-10%, 4%
indicate 11-20%, 0% indicate 21-30% and likewise for more than
31%. Furthermore, 8% indicate no average ROI, 54% indicate
I do not know and 23% indicate N/A, similar to previous
questions regarding payback and individual development ROI.
Again, respondents indicate that they do not know the level
of payback or return on their investment for green building
certication programs or technologies.
We ask respondents whether resident utility allowances should be
reduced for developments with a green building certication. On
a scale of 1-5, with 1 being strongly disagree and 5 being strongly
agree, 4% strongly disagreed, 4% disagreed, 20% are neutral, 32%
agree and 40% strongly agree. Most respondents agree or strongly
agree that utility allowance obligations should be reduced for
developments with a green building certication, which from a
developer/builder perspective, is not surprising. Since total rent for
LIHTC properties equals rent plus utility allowance, a developer
or property owner may elect to perform an energy consumption
model utility allowance calculation using actual utility data history
to account for the energy and water eciencies provided by a
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | 37
green building certication program. is has the potential to
reduce their utility allowance obligation to residents and increase
the amount of rent collected. While this model could prove more
protable for a developer, it could be adverse for a low-income
resident who could be le with a reduced utility allowance
contribution and an increased rent obligation.
Green Developer and Builder Benets
Understanding the perceived benets of building green is an
essential aspect of understanding why developers and builders
choose to pursue a green building certication. erefore, the
research team asks green builders about these perceived benets,
based on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being strongly disagree and
5being strongly agree.
When asked if green buildings provide benets when compared to
non-green buildings in terms of total cost: 4% strongly disagree,
28% disagree, 28% are neutral, 32% agree and 8% strongly agree.
Similarly, when asked if green buildings provide benets when
compared to non-green buildings in terms of scope of work
(construction contract of goods and services to be provided):
4%strongly disagree, 28% disagree, 32% are neutral, 32% agree
and 4% strongly agree.
Next, the survey asks respondents whether green buildings
provide benets in comparison to non-green buildings in terms
of quality of end product: 0% strongly disagree, 8% disagree, 20%
are neutral, 48% agree and 24% strongly agree.
Finally, when asked if green buildings help (my) rm achieve its
objectives and mission: 0% strongly disagree, 8% disagree, 12%
are neutral, 52% agree and 28% strongly agree.
e majority of survey respondents indicate that green buildings,
in comparison to non-green buildings, provide benets in terms
of quality of end product and achieving their rm’s objectives
and mission. Responses are more neutral on whether green
buildings provide benets in terms of total cost and scope of
work, although more than a third of respondents indicate that
green buildings provide benets in terms of total cost and scope
of work.
Green Construction Costs -
DevelopersandBuilders
Developer and builder comments on green construction
costs have also been collected. Below is a summary of
survey comments that coincide with hard construction cost
comparisons and focus on dierences between green and
non-green construction.
For direct and hard costs, respondents have the following
comments:
One hundred percent of the participants believe that
typical direct construction cost for a green-certied
low-rise (1-3 story) apartment building compared to that
for non-green construction is more expensive; and
On average, participants believe that green low-rise
construction hard cost is 10% more expensive than typical
code or non-green construction.
For indirect and so costs, respondents have the following
comments:
38 | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
irty-three percent of the participants believe that typical
indirect or so construction costs (site development,
hardscape, permits and fees, and other) for a green low-
rise apartment building is more expensive, 67% believe it
is about the same;
On average, participants believe that green building
indirect costs are 3% more expensive than typical code
construction; and
On average, participants believe that so costs (builder’s
overhead & development allowance, nancing placement
fee allowance, legal and closing allowance, marketing/sales
commission, green certication costs and consulting fees,
and other so costs) are 7% more expensive than non-
green construction.
Developer/Builder Survey Discussion
Non-Green Developer and Builder Property
Characteristics
When it comes to new standard construction, developer/builder
survey responses tell a story of diusion of green technology
without using a green building certication program. According
to responses, 93% of the participants report that they always
install ENERGY STAR® appliances. A majority of builders
sometimes or always install above-code insulation, high-
eciency mechanical equipment, high-eciency lighting and
above-code windows. On the contrary, a majority of developer/
builders report never installing renewable energy systems. ese
survey results show progress toward industry standards for
the incorporation of above-code building practices and energy
ecient high-performance systems and technologies, however
there is still signicant room for developers to incorporate
renewable energy in aordable housing. Federal, state and local
policies that advance energy eciency and have led to signicant
market diusion, could also be applied to the implementation of
renewable energy for aordable housing development.
Green Developer/Builder Motivations and
Characteristics
Participants report reduced tenant utility bills, reduced
operations and maintenance costs and commitment to
sustainability as the most common motivations for pursuing
green building certications.
State and federal incentives, and utility-based rebate programs
are the most common among nancial incentives for
implementing green technologies.
A majority of respondents did not recognize capital premiums
for implementing green technologies or did not know what those
premiums would be. is lack of knowledge and evaluation also
applied to payback and return on investment for green building
certication programs and technologies. Such ndings support
previous results of this research suggesting that more data and
analysis is necessary on the part of developers/builders and
program administrators (HFAs) for evaluating the cost-benet of
green building and aordable housing; as Yudelson (2008) said,
“clearly the focus needs to be on results. A lack of understanding
and analysis of the long term nancial benets of investing in
energy ecient and renewable energy technologies suggests a
need for increased education on ROI and evaluation of project
costs from construction through operations to better assess the
feasibility and protability of this upfront investment.
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | 39
Also, a large majority of respondents agree that a reduction in
utility allowances should be considered for green buildings, but
as discussed in the green developer/builder motivations and
characteristics section, while green building certications and
the associated green and energy ecient technologies may allow
for a utility allowance that accounts for these energy and water
saving improvements, the impact to developer prot and resident
aordability should be strongly considered.
Green Developer and Builder Benets
When asked if green buildings provide benets when compared
to non-green buildings in terms of total cost and scope of work,
the responses are split, showing a wide variation in answers from
strongly disagree to strongly agree. Survey ndings suggest that
work associated with green building is oen perceived as adding
to a building’s scope of work and total costs.
On the other hand, respondents clearly perceive quality as a
result of working with green building certication programs.
Seventy-two percent of developer/builders surveyed agree or
strongly agree that green buildings provide a higher quality
endproduct.
Finally, 80% of the participants report that green building
certication programs help their company achieve its objectives
and mission. ese ndings are similar to Yudelson’s survey
(2008), as executives perceive green building as important to
the goals of the rm but did not grasp its current eect. Many
of Yudelson’s executives therefore report a perception that the
market is not comfortable with new ideas and technologies and
that green building is a market barrier, contrary to our ndings
in this study.
Property Manager Survey
Perceptions and behaviors of property managers can also make
a dierence in evaluating the eectiveness of green building
programs over the lifecycle of a property. Property managers
have a unique perspective on the long-term durability and
maintenance challenges of a development, adding valuable
context to this study. We asked property managers about these
perceptions based on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being strongly
disagree and 5 being strongly agree.
Characteristics of the Property Manager
Survey Respondents
ere are 20 total survey participants, 10 represent the partner
companies that coincide with the developments used in the study
and the remaining 10 are general respondents. Respondents
are a 50/50 mix of green and non-green developers. Of partner
companies, respondents hold the following titles: President
of Property Management, Property Manager, Regional Asset
Manager, Director of Maintenance, Vice President, Regional
Property Manager, Director of Property Management,
Regional Manager and Director. Of non-research participants,
respondents hold titles, including: Property Manager, Operations
Manager, Community Manager, Senior Project Manager,
Executive Director, Asset Manager, and Regional Vice President.
Green vs. Non-Green Property
Characteristics
When asked whether green buildings are more energy ecient
than non-green buildings, 6% strongly disagree, 0% disagree,
56% are neutral, 25% agree and 13% strongly agree. Neutral
comments include: “because of rising utility costs, I cannot tell
40 | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
any dierence; and we don’t have green building certications, so
I’m not sure what the O&M variances would be.
When asked whether green buildings are more water ecient
than non-green buildings, 6% strongly disagreed, 0% disagreed,
75% are neutral, 13% agree and 6% strongly agree. Neutral
comments include: “if a low-ow toilet takes two or three ushes,
and a normal toilet took one, did you save any water?”
We asked property managers if green buildings have lower
utility costs than non-green buildings. 6% strongly disagree,
6% disagree, 56% are neutral, 6% agree and 25% strongly agree.
Neutral comments include: “we do see some savings on the
systems but it’s hard to determine if it’s simply because they’re
newer units (and by default more ecient) or if its because it’s
the specically high ecient units.” Disagree comments for
this question include: “it is dicult to ascertain this, but my
opinion is that money can be better spent in other areas once the
buildings are energy code compliant.
When asked if green buildings have lower utility costs than non-
green buildings and allow for a reduced utility allowance, 13%
strongly disagree, 0% disagree, 69% percent are neutral, 6% agree
and 13% strongly agree. Figure 30 illustrates the trend with many
of the property management respondents showing neutrality
about green building and its benets with regard to lower utility
costs. A neutral comment is “I have not been able to see that”
and a strongly disagree comment is “we use PHA allowances
which do not account for this.
When asked if green buildings have lower overall operations and
maintenance costs than non-green buildings, there is, again, a
tendency toward neutrality: 19% strongly disagree, 13% disagree,
44% are neutral, 13% agree and 13% strongly agree. Strongly
13%
Strongly
Disagree
69%
Neutral
6% Agre
e
13%
Strongly
Agree
Figure 30: Green Buildings Have Lower Utility Costs
disagree comments include: “we are a new build, but cheaply
made items break just as quickly whether they are rated as green
or not.” When disagreeing, the one comment was “sta must be
qualied and systems serviced.
When asked whether green buildings require less frequent
maintenance than non-green buildings, 19% strongly disagree,
19% disagree, 50% are neutral, 6% agree and 6% strongly agree.
Respondents seem to agree with operations and maintenance
cost ndings that green buildings do not require less nancial
and sta resources. Among “strongly disagree” comments are:
“when buildings are wrapped too tightly and cannot ‘breathe’,
it causes moisture issues. en you have to purchase additional
HVAC units to remove the moisture from the home and cost of
qualied sta and repair of equipment is higher.
When asked if green buildings require less sta time and
resources for in-unit maintenance requests than non-green
buildings: 25% strongly disagree, 25% disagree, 44% are neutral,
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | 41
0% agree and 6% strongly agree. In this case, the tendency
moved signicantly towards the side of disagreement with the
statement. “Strongly disagree” comments include: “I can only
see that statement being true if the appliances and hardware in
the home were of a better quality than builder low-grade. Bulk
pricing deals; and the time spent trying to train residents on how
to maintain the desired temperatures alone eats up more time.
On the contrary, when asked if green buildings require a greater
level of resident education to operate units properly than
non-green buildings, 6% strongly disagree, 6% disagree, 50%
are neutral, 31% agree and 6% strongly agree. e tendency
moved considerably towards the other side – in agreement with
the statement, as displayed in gure 31. An “agree” comment:
“for older residents, it is harder to use the thermostats” and a
“strongly agree” comment is the “inability of users to operate
their unit’s system is one of the most notable headaches of an
initial lease up with a high-eciency system.
6%
Strongly Disagree
6%
Disagree
50%
Neutral
31%
Agree
6%
Strongly Agree
Figure 31: Green Buildings Require a Greater Level of
Resident Education
Responses are more neutral when asked if green buildings
provide residents with enhanced indoor environmental quality
(IEQ) in comparison to non-green buildings: 13% strongly
disagree, 19% disagree, 50% are neutral, 19% agree and 0%
strongly agree. One “strongly disagree” comment includes,
“may even have the opposite eect - as buildings are tighter
and HVAC systems don’t run as much, mold grows.” “Disagree”
comments are: “not when the buildings can’t breathe,” “too much
moisture causes mold to grow on the residents shoes, clothes and
furniture,” and “many of the residents will not run HVAC which
leads to humidity issues and possible mold issues.”
While feedback in our report from actual residents about their
comfort is important, the perception of property managers
regarding residents’ comfort is also informative. We asked if
“green buildings provide residents with enhanced comfort (i.e.
temperature, air quality, ventilation, humidity and lighting)
in comparison to non-green buildings.” Responses have an
emphasis on the “disagree” side of the scale, 13% strongly
disagree, 25% disagree, 44% are neutral, 19% agree and 0%
strongly agree. One “strongly disagree” comment is: “not
with heat pumps. e air doesn’t ow evenly throughout the
apartment. Some rooms are warmer than others. ere is also no
comfort in having too much moisture in the air.”
Green Property Management Perceptions
and Benets
e research team also asked the managers of green properties
about their perceptions concerning green building management.
e following section describes how this group of 14 property
managers perceive their green properties.
42 | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
We asked the respondents whether green building certication
programs provide an enhanced level of quality assurance and
compliance monitoring than non-green buildings. Seven percent
strongly disagree, 0% disagree, 57% are neutral, 29% agree and
7% strongly agree, demonstrating a tendency towards neutrality
and agreement with the statement.
Responding to whether green building certication programs have
less overall administrative and management costs than non-green
buildings, 23% strongly disagree, 15% disagree, 46% are neutral,
15% agree and 0% strongly agree. e tendency again swings back
to disagreement with the statement. Strongly disagree comments
are: “not that I can tell,” “I’m sure most do have to replace cheap
items,” and “no dierence is seen related to certication.
Property Manager Survey Discussion
A majority of respondents agree that green buildings are more
energy ecient than non-green buildings. A large majority of
respondents are neutral when asked if green buildings are more
water ecient than non-green buildings, with comments such
as “if a low-ow toilet takes two or three ushes, and a normal
toilet took one, did you save any water?” A majority are also
neutral about green buildings having lower utility costs than
non-green buildings, commenting that “it’s hard to determine
if it’s simply because they’re newer units (and by default more
ecient) or if it’s because it’s the specically high ecient units.
Other respondent comments disagree, saying that “money can
be better spent in other areas once the buildings are energy code
compliant.” Contrary to the respondents’ comments, WegoWise
data indicates that green buildings have lower energy usage.
Green developments compared to non-green developments use
almost 13% kWh/sf less energy and spend nearly 12% less per
month on utilities.
Continuing the central tendency that seems to be consistent with
many of the property management respondents, the following
statements receive a “neutral” response: construction and its
benets; green buildings have lower overall operations and
maintenance costs than non-green buildings; green buildings
require less frequent maintenance than non-green buildings;
green buildings require less sta time and resources for in-unit
maintenance requests than non-green buildings and green
buildings provide residents with enhanced indoor environmental
quality (IEQ).
On the contrary, when asked if green buildings require a greater
level of resident education to operate units properly than
non-green buildings, the tendency strongly moved towards
agreement with the statement. Comments concentrate on
residents’ “inability to operate their unit’s high-eciency system.
Several comments suggest that residents do not turn on their
air conditioning or do not understand how to program their
thermostats, which reiterates the need for an increased level of
occupant education and supervision.
Property managers disagree that green buildings provide
residents with enhanced comfort (i.e. temperature, air quality,
ventilation, humidity and lighting) than non-green buildings.
Comments indicate issues with: air ow, temperature and
moisture – “many of the residents will not run HVAC, which
leads to humidity issues and possible mold issues,” “the air
doesn’t ow evenly throughout the apartment. Some rooms are
warmer than others. ere is also no comfort in having too much
moisture in the air” and “the more ecient and technology based
systems (generating) much more negative feedback than our
more basic systems.
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | 43
Overall, the majority of property managers seemed to show
consistent neutrality regarding the perceived dierences
between green and non-green properties. Many commented that
operations and maintenance costs are equivalent or higher; one
participant commented that replacement costs are not correlated
to eciency but rather to quality, citing that “cheaply made items
break just as quickly whether they are rated as green or not.” In
order to reduce the operations, maintenance and administrative
costs associated with green buildings included in this study,
property managers, maintenance sta, contractors and residents
must be trained and made aware of best practices. e following
comments by property managers are representative of the
training and technical assistance need, “sta must be qualied
and systems serviced” and “cheaply made items break just as
quickly whether they are rated as green or not.
Comments by property managers that relate to “letting the
building breathe” and other moisture issues suggests a lack of
understanding of the building science principles which drive
green building program standards, a fundamental aspect of
maintaining a green-certied residence. is also indicates a
need for both property manager and resident education related
to high-performance buildings and ventilation, a common theme
noted throughout this study. According to the survey results,
property managers seem to recognize this education gap –
nearly a third of respondents agree that green buildings require
more education and nearly two-thirds agree that education and
information increases sta knowledge and their ability to verify
specications. Additional education of property management
sta and residents will translate to greater O&M cost savings
related to procurement, administration and utilities associated
with green buildings.
Housing Finance Agency
(HFA)Survey
Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs) from Georgia, North
Carolina, Alabama, and South Carolina provide their
perspectives regarding green building certication programs,
eciency and administration by completing a HFA survey. ere
are four participants to this survey, and respondents equally
represent Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina
and have more than 10 years of experience in aordable housing
administration.
When asked if “green-certied buildings and green technologies
are more energy ecient in comparison to non-green buildings,
50% are neutral, 25% agree and 25% strongly agree. Regarding
if “green buildings have lower utility costs than non-green
buildings,” 25% are neutral and 75% agree. When asked if “green
buildings have lower overall operations and maintenance costs
than non-green buildings,” 75% are neutral and 25% agree. So,
while HFAs mostly agree that green-certied buildings save
money on utility costs, they are unsure whether green buildings
oer reduced maintenance costs. For example, one respondent
cites that “management companies have reported increased
maintenance costs which they attribute to some of the green
building requirements.
When asked if “green buildings require a greater level of resident
education to operate units properly than non-green buildings,
25% are neutral and 75% agree. e need for increased
occupant education related to operating green units appears
as a theme throughout the surveys conducted as part of this
researchproject.
44 | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
When asked if the “administration of developments with green
building certications require less sta time and resources in
comparison to non-green buildings,” 25% strongly disagree, 25%
disagree, 25% are neutral and 25% agree. Similarly, when asked
if “overall, developments with a green building certication
have lower administrative costs to the HFA (application review,
quality assurance and compliance monitoring) in comparison to
non-green buildings,” 25% strongly disagree, 25% disagree, 25%
are neutral and 25% agree.
HFA responses to these questions regarding the benets of green
building programs on HFA administration are highly variable
and limited due to the small sample size. is inconsistency
could be due to variations in respective QAP incentives for green
building certication programs and their resulting overall lack of
familiarity with certication programs. It may also suggest that
HFA administrators and sta require some additional technical
assistance when incorporating green building as an incentive
in their Qualied Allocation Plans (QAP). While the HFA sta
surveyed have many years of experience and their state programs
develop thousands of units of aordable housing, the majority
do not have much experience working with green building
certication programs as a result of limited incentives and
requirements for green building and technologies, with Georgia
being the exception. Due to a lack of professional and agency
experience with green building, the survey responses should
be viewed as perceptions, but limited in their competency. In
summary, however, the HFA survey participants expressed
concerns related to the perceived administrative burden that
these programs place on the QAP application process. One
respondent suggested that “more time is required as our
construction sta reviews the third party certication and is
looking at installation as part of our construction reviews.
While surveyed HFAs are unsure about an administrative benet
provided by green building certication programs, the majority
do agree that green buildings are more energy ecient and have
lower utility costs, which provides low-income residents with
enhanced aordability.
Development and Construction Costs
Comparison
As noted in the survey sections, the perception that green-
certied buildings cost more to construct is predominant in the
aordable housing industry. One of the primary objectives of
this research is to compare construction and operations costs
of green and non-green developments to assess whether the
total costs are in line with perceived costs for green-certied
buildings. e following sections compare construction costs
to evaluate how much developers are actually paying to earn
green building certications. For reference, we discuss the
characteristics of these developments and our analytical methods
in the methodology section of this report.
e following section benchmarks costs across three broad areas
of design, construction and operations: so costs, hard costs, and
operations and maintenance costs. We then compare our sample
to objective third party data for each development’s location and
the region. RS Means national cost averages are used to check
and compare the reliability of our data.
Development Cost Analysis
is section of the report discusses and analyzes costs for green
and non-green developments in our sample. We begin with
analysis of the broad, total costs for these developments and then
we dive deeper into itemized costs.
e Impact of Green Aordable Housing | 45
e researchers have removed all development names and
addresses to ensure condentiality of the sample. e research
team solicited construction cost information in two forms:
1)cost certications required by HFAs and AIA G702s, and 2)a
survey of participating developers on costs and experience. We
solicited 18 developments from four states in the Southeastern
United States: Alabama (AL), Georgia (GA), South Carolina (SC)
and North Carolina (NC). As discussed, Green 1 and Green HR,
both renovations, have been removed from the full cost analysis
due to signicant dierences in construction type, scope and
performance. A total of 16 developments - nine green and seven
non-green are included in the cost analysis sections.
e development sizes in this section range from 40,367 sf to
202,343 sf. It is important to note that costs of the developments
can be highly aected when comparing on a square-foot basis
between large and small buildings in urban and rural localities.
As a result, the authors will attempt to delineate ndings in many
ways including size, density and location.
Figure 32. Green Developments Building Characteristics and Total Cost
Green
Development Certification Placed in
Service State Urban/
Rural Gross sf Number of
Units
Building
Type
Resident
Type
Total Cost
/ sf Total Cost
Green 2 EarthCraft 2012 GA Rural 75,803 60 Low-Rise Family $98.50 $7,466,449.43
Green 3 LEED 2011 GA Urban 202,343 156 Low-Rise Family $50.00 $10,116,910.00
Green 4 EarthCraft &
LEED 2012 GA Rural 69,075 50 Low-Rise Family $113.08 $7,810,687.00
Green 5 EarthCraft 2013 NC Urban 111,000 110 Mid-Rise Senior $122.39 $13,585,098.46
Green 6 EarthCraft 2014 NC Urban 103,300 74 Mid-Rise Family $85.53 $8,835,426.00
Green 7 ENERGY STAR 2012 NC Rural 74,444 64 Low-Rise Senior $97.05 $7,224,840.00
Green 8 EarthCraft 2012 NC Rural 40,720 40 Low-Rise Senior $91.28 $3,716,762.00
Green 9 ENERGY STAR 2011 NC Rural 47,784 40 Low-Rise Family $88.53 $4,230,170.00
Green 10 ENERGY STAR 2012 SC Urban 85,327 60 Low-Rise Family $80.30 $6,851,961.00
46 | e Impact of Green Aordable Housing
Building type is also an important factor in the development
cost. For example, high-rise construction requires more stringent
codes and types of materials (steel or reinforced concrete) in its
design and construction than low-rise (wood or steel composite),
alluding to why Green HR is excluded. Seven out of the nine
green developments in this analysis are low-rise and two are
mid-rise. All of the green developments included in the cost
analysis sections are new construction built between 2009 and
2014. Allof the non-green developments in this study are low-
rise new construction. As with development size, we will account
for these characteristics when reporting our ndings.
Figure 32 summarizes the total construction costs for the
ninegreen developments. ree of these nine developments
are located in Georgia, ve in North Carolina and one in
South Carolina. Green building certication programs used
Figure 33. Non-Green Developments Building Characteristics and Total Cost
Non-Green
Development
Placed in
Service State Urban/Rural Gross sf Number of
Units
Building
Type
Resident
Type
Total Cost
/ sf Total Cost
Non-Green 1 2012 AL Rural 40,367 40 Low-Rise Elderly $116.44 $4,700,464.00
Non-Green 2 2010 AL Rural 59,806 56 Low-Rise Elderly $99.74 $5,964,794.00
Non-Green 3 2012 AL Urban 57,613 51 Low-Rise Elderly $105.60