HousingFinance.com recently asked readers about their efforts in building green affordable housing.
More than half of the respondents—54.5%—said they are utilizing green building products and techniques in their developments, while 27.3% said they use these products and techniques in some, but not all, of their projects. Only 18.2% said they are not incorporating green into their projects.
Respondents were mixed on their primary reasons for building sustainable housing: 20% said to benefit the overall environment, 20% said to reduce operating costs over the long term, 20% said to receive additional financing through federal and state incentives, and 10% said to create healthier homes for the residents.
“In addition to federal and state financing, sustainability is a social AND business imperative: the best way to control long-term costs for residents, our public partners, and our own company,” noted one respondent.
When it comes to the costs of incorporating these green elements, the majority of respondents—27.3%—said it only adds an additional 1% to 5% to the overall cost of the development, while 9.1% said they are not seeing any additional costs. The rest of the respondents were varied: 18.2% said the green elements add 6% to 10% to the overall cost, 9.1% said 11% to 15%, 9.1% said 16% to 20%, and the remaining 9.1% said 26% to 30%.
When it comes to guidelines, 80% respondents said they are adhering to Energy Star standards.
Other guidelines that respondents are following include:
- U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design: 50%
- Enterprise Green Communities: 40%
- National Association of Home Builders’ Green Building Standard: 30%
- EarthCraft: 20%
- GreenPoint Rated: 10%
- Specific city/state standards: 10%
Respondents also shared some of the newest green features they are adding to their developments. These include 100% solar for all residents, painting roofs white to reduce energy costs, and underground stormwater detention systems.