Why Build Green


When you build green, you will take affordable housing to the next level of performance. You will give owners and residents more comfortable homes that cost less to operate, last longer, and keep occupants healthy. You will keep current with leading building techniques and gain valuable experience with a team approach that improves design and construction. And of course, you will help improve our environment as your buildings become more efficient, use less resources, and reduce their impact. The proof is already out there: a wide range of projects across the country have accomplished these improvements within the cost of conventional building methods. In fact, green building can even lower construction costs and give you a competitive edge in attracting support for your project.


Developers who gain expertise in high performance techniques rapidly reap rewards. The costs of adopting new methods and materials quickly fall away, giving rise to better buildings with lower maintenance, operations, and insurance costs, and even more consistent rent or mortgage payments.

Your investment in green affordable housing benefits the regional economy by meeting the need for truly low-cost homes. Energy efficiency not only reduces residents' bill but keeps utility rates lower for all customers by reducing demand.
Go to the Economic Sense page.


Green building offers us tremendous opportunities to save energy, cut greenhouse gas emissions, conserve natural resources, improve air and water quality, and reduce waste. If all buildings in the U.S. met leading green building standards, national energy use and global warming emissions would drop by ten percent. The potential for reducing waste is even greater, with the rate of construction waste recycling at over 70 percent. Green building is also critical when it comes to managing stormwater runoff, a priority in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Specifically, you can make your site work like a forest: absorbing water, nurturing trees that clean our air and cool our city, and give kids a place to safely play and explore the natural world.
Go to the Environmental Sense page.


Comfortable, healthy, and safe homes and neighborhoods are at the heart of high performance green building. When you design to make the most of your development, work with community members from day one. Plan to enhance parks and playgrounds and to create safe, well-lit walking routes to transit and businesses where neighbors can get to know one another, exercise regularly and create a neighborhood where residents look out for one another.
Go to the Community Sense page.

Why do it now?

Green building offers us the chance to benefit everyone: residents, owners, neighbors, local governments, regional businesses, and the local and global environment. You can make these opportunities and benefits a reality even within the budget limitations of an affordable housing project. The average additional cost of building green is approximately two percent higher than that of traditional building and is falling. Many tools are in place to support these market changes, and new policies, financial instruments, and regulatory amendments will soon make building green a mainstream practice in affordable housing. The time to build green is now.


Regional Legislation and Incentive Programs:

DC Green Building Act of 2006 (PDF)

The 2006 Green Communities Criteria, the standard for affordable housing in the DC Green Building Act.

Montgomery County, Maryland Green Building law (PDF) and property tax credit legislation (PDF)

Arlington, Virginia green building incentive programs: Density Bonus and Green Home Choice

Benefits of Green Building:

Emerald Cities: The Promise of Green Development, The American Prospect Magazine

Greening Affordable Housing (PDF) Environmental Building News, March 2005
This reprint of this article is posted by permission of the publisher, BuildingGreen, Inc.

Affordable Housing Goes Green (PDF) Apartment Professional, April 2005

Green building facts and figures from The Playbook for Green Buildings + Neighborhoods

In this Section:

Economic Sense

You can build green affordable housing for the same price as conventional residential development. In fact, green, high performance techniques, systems, and materials will deliver more efficient, durable, and...

Environmental Sense

Energy efficiency Buildings account for 35 percent of U.S. energy use and over 60 percent of electricity demand. Green homes consistently use a third less energy, making energy efficiency...

Community Sense

When you build green, you are building safe, comfortable, and healthy homes. You are not only building a community - you are building for community. Healthy homes High performance...