The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Bank of America Charitable Foundation have opened the application period for the expanded 2014 Affordable Green Neighborhoods Grant Program.

The program awards financial and educational resources to affordable housing developers committed to building sustainable communities through the LEED for Neighborhood Development program. The awards are made possible by an $850,000 grant from the Foundation.

This year, the program has been expanded to 14 awardees from 10 in 2012, the most recent year that grants were awarded. Applications will be accepted until July 11.

LEED for Neighborhood Development is a green neighborhood rating system that integrates the principles of smart growth, new urbanism, and green building, while benefitting communities by reducing urban sprawl, increasing transportation choices, and decreasing automobile dependence, encouraging healthy living, and protecting threatened species.

A review committee of industry leaders will award 14 affordable housing projects in the U.S. and Canada with the following support:

  • Cash award of $25,000 to be used to pursue LEED for Neighborhood Development certification;
  • Complimentary LEED for Neighborhood Development reference guide;
  • Registration for the online LEED for Neighborhood Development webinar series;
  • Registration for a LEED for Neighborhood Development educational workshop;
  • Waived registration and exam fees for one member of each project team to pursue the LEED Green Associate professional credential;
  • Monthly support calls and direct access for technical inquiries;
  • One registration for the National Affordable Green Homes & Sustainable Communities Summit during the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo  in New Orleans; and
  • Travel stipend to attend Greenbuild 2014

In addition to the award package, three to four projects will be selected to receive a two-day, in-person technical assistance session with a team of USGBC and Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) staff, valued at $3,000. The in-person meetings provide an opportunity for USGBC and GBCI staff to provide intensive, dedicated assistance to projects pursuing certification. The application form provides interested projects the opportunity to apply for the selective technical assistance sessions.

Through the previous 2010 and 2012 cycles, USGBC has provided assistance to 20 affordable housing redevelopment projects across the country, representing the creation of 8,448 rental units and 2,391 for-sale units. All projects are being designed and built to the highest standards of environmental sustainability and indoor air quality, with the majority reserved for low-income residents.

Applicants for the program will be notified of their status in early September. To learn more about the Affordable Green Neighborhoods Grant Program and/or to apply, visit www.usgbc.org/initiatives/grants/affordable-neighborhoods.