How do I approach a green affordable housing project? How is the process different? How can I help get developers on track to build green?


Encourage or require developers to conduct integrated design charrettes where their whole development team meets to plan and design a truly high-performance building. The combined experience of the architects, engineers, builders, subcontractors, consultants, operations staff, and others can connect the dots and create a building where all of the components work together to deliver comfort, health, and efficiency. By valuing collaboration and communication from the beginning, an integrated, team approach will pave the way for a smooth design and construction process with fewer call-backs and change orders. These design, process, and operating efficiencies will cut costs and thus help builders adjust to green building. Work to make the governmental review and permitting process encourage, not impede, an integrated approach. Go to the Integrated Design page.

Involve the community

Bring together the development team's vision and experience with the real life needs and preferences of residents and the community. When you plan charrettes and meetings to engage community members and have designers respond to their questions, concerns, and ideas, the project is much more likely to receive neighborhood support. Use community involvement opportunities to extend the discussion to greening the neighborhood to deliver air and water quality benefits and community spaces. Go to the Involve page.


Help builders take advantage of the innovative design, financing, and construction techniques that green building offers. Work to remove permitting obstacles advanced equipment and novel approaches that deliver high performance housing. Offer incentives for innovative techniques and products that benefit residents but that developers are less willing to try. Go to the Innovate page.

Pick & Choose

Keep the focus of requirements or incentives on building performance for health, efficiency, and the environment. Ensure green quality by helping designers and builders adopt strong evaluation tools to make the best choices: energy modeling to design your building envelope and to right-size systems; life-cycle assessment to pick durable, low-impact, and cost-effective materials; commissioning to ensure that the essential details of insulation, sealing, and systems installation are done right. Use finance and permitting agency reviews to keep a developer's green choices on track. Go to the Pick & Choose page.

In this Section:


A building is so much more than the sum of its parts. Green building recognizes that to create a building where all of the systems work together to optimize performance,...


Green affordable housing should not simply work better--it should be better for the people who will call it home. To make green affordable housing truly benefit residents and neighbors,...


Building green opens the door to innovative design, financing, and construction techniques and to higher building performance through the use of advanced equipment and novel approaches. Policy decisions that work...

Pick and Choose

Yes, developers can build green on a constrained affordable housing budget, but they will have to make compromises. Green building policies should set priorities that ensure that developers address key...