“The most affordable home is one that is affordable to live in and operate.” These are words we’ve lived by for years at Southface, and finally, we’re working to put statistics behind the anecdotes. Validating the Impact of Green Affordable Housing is a recently funded one-year research project. Our communities and policy teams, along with a steering committee of industry experts, will explore the impact of sustainable affordable housing when compared to code or conventional construction for multifamily developments utilizing Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and other federal and state allocated housing subsidies in the Southeast. Construction and development costs, utility allowances, utility consumption and cost data, and installed efficiency or “green” measures will be collected, analyzed and evaluated.
Validating the Impact of Green Affordable Housing will engage affordable housing stakeholders to quantify costs related to green building and define key issues around cost containment in order to increase the adoption of green building and sustainable development practices. The project proposes to collect data on actual development costs and energy and water utility usage from a sample of affordable housing developments in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Comparing the construction and operating costs of projects with and without green measures will provide much needed data on the performance of green affordable housing. The twelve-month research project will collect data from a representative sample of fifteen or more affordable housing developments. The sample will include developments that achieved a green building certification, such as EarthCraft, LEED for Homes, the National Green Building Standard and Enterprise Green Communities, and those which only met standard development requirements.