Will LEED-ND Discourage Affordable Housing?

<p>Critics worry that cities who require new developments to meet LEED-ND standards will sacrifice affordable housing for sustainability.</p>
May 27, 2008, 8am PDT | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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"As the green building wave hits the residential market, some housing and development insiders fear the area's neediest residents are getting swept out to sea.

The U.S. Green Building Council's new rating system for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design in neighborhood development, known as LEED-ND, is coming under fire for not putting a greater emphasis on affordable housing.

Critics say LEED-ND, in its current draft, discourages participating developers from alloting dollars into expensive energy-efficient affordable housing if their payback is, at most, four points out of a possible 106. They worry the point system, and any resulting developer disincentives, will get ingrained in municipal law books if local governments continue to adopt LEED standards at unprecedented rates -- all at a time, they add, when the growing gap between wages and mortgages is creating an affordable housing crisis regionally and nationally."

"The solutions critics offer are varied. Some say affordable housing should be a prerequisite of the LEED-ND system. Others simply want USGBC to increase the admissible points."

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Published on Monday, May 26, 2008 in Washington Business Journal
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