Low Income Housing Tax Credits & Sustainable Development in Maryland, 2016 - For Green & Sustainable Communities

Maryland's 2016 Qualified Allocation Plan includes incentives for green building, energy efficiency, and sustainable communities.

Maryland’s 2016 Multifamily Rental Financing Program Guide indicates DHCD will award up to thirty-one (31) points may be awarded based on features related to a project’s physical quality and its impact on the environment, including the surrounding neighborhood and the residents. These points are further broken down as follows:

(A) Green Features (12 maximum points)

DHCD will award points based on the inclusion of various “green” features of a project with more points available to projects participating in recognized certification programs. A project can only receive points under one of the following criteria:

  • Twelve (12) points will be awarded to projects that intend to complete and receive certification using green building criteria from one of the organizations in the table below. The certifying entity’s published scoring checklist or scorecard must be submitted and completed by the project architect or a qualified third party demonstrating a sufficient level of scoring to achieve green certification as defined within the guidelines at the time of application. The certificate must be provided at the completion of the project. The image below provides additional detail on this subject. 
  • Ten (10) points will be awarded to projects that do not complete the actual certification process as noted above but instead continue to meet the minimum score as indicated in the application for the certification. The program’s published scoring checklist or scorecard must be submitted and signed by the project architect or a qualified third party and they must provide a statement explaining how the items listed on the checklist will be verified during construction; alternatively 
  • One (1) point will be awarded, up to a maximum of eight (8) points, for each bulleted feature below that contributes to a sustainable healthy environment over the extended period of the project life: 
    • On new construction, through the use of innovative planning, a detailed written statement from a civil engineer shows a 20% or greater reduction in impervious surface area over conventional design through the use of permeable paving, efficient narrower compact road design, reduction in local parking requirements to a level where the project needs will still be met, permeable spill over parking areas, angled parking, shared parking and driveways, narrower sidewalks, and greater permeable open space adjacent to impervious cover. Note that implementation of certain listed examples may face local jurisdiction obstacles and must be compliant with accessibility codes and standards. While MDE supports progressive designs which are highly suitable for specific projects, approval from local jurisdictions may require waivers or special processes. 
    • Site Work Management – Utilize the 2007 or current version of the Maryland Stormwater Design Manuals to select Best Management Practices (BMP) for collection and treatment of stormwater captured on site through maximizing permeable surfaces. Identify and utilize low impact treatment methods such as open channel design in conjunction with open section paving, rain gardens (bioretention devices), urban BMP devices, disconnection of roof or non-roof runoff, or collection and reuse of water for irrigation or other approved domestic use. Criteria points awarded for projects utilizing methods identified or recognized by the Maryland Water Management Administration as Stormwater Credits for Innovative Planning:
      • Natural area conservation 
      • Disconnection of rooftop runoff 
      • Disconnection of non-rooftop runoff 
      • Sheet flow to buffers 
      • Open channel use 
      • Environmentally Sensitive Development 
    • Recycled Materials – The project uses at least two (2) of the following: recycled paving products, recycled concrete aggregate or binders; recycled framing lumber, trim or deck materials with recycled content; mulch obtained from chipping of trees removed during on site clearing operations; donations of material from demolition such as kitchen cabinets or appliances to nonprofit organizations or other significant use of recycled materials. 
    • Renewable and Biodegradable Materials – The project makes significant use of renewable and biodegradable materials such as lumber, plywood flooring/walls and coatings, derived from sustainable forestry and agricultural methods. 
    • Local Material Procurement – The project makes use of locally available construction materials thereby reducing associated transportation costs. Submit a plan consistent with the local construction material procurement sections of any of the recognized sustainable development programs described in the Green Certification category above.
    • Reflective Roofing – Install light colored/high albedo roofing Energy Star rated. On flat roof surfaces application to be at least 75% reflective roofing. On pitched roofs, reflective shingle roofing will be considered if a suitable product showing dirt and stain resistance is selected. 
    • Reflective Paving – Install light colored/high albedo materials with a minimum solar reflective index of 0.6 (60%) or open grid paving on at least 75% of site paved areas. 
    • Healthy Flooring – Install non-vinyl, non-carpet hard surface floor coverings in all rooms. Architect to review the need for adding sound attenuation elements where hard surface flooring is selected. 
    • Innovative Lumber Conserving Practices – Use engineered lumber or manufactured framing methods that conserve materials and do not rely on the use of full dimensional lumber and also reduce site originated waste. Identify systems to be used. Provide documentation that at least 25% (by cost) of the project wood products and materials are certified in accordance with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), American Tree Farm System (ATFS), Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). Innovative practices such as Optimal Value Engineering (OVE), other system conserving materials, or increasing energy performance over conventional framing practices also qualifies for receiving points. 
    • Recycled Water - The project utilizes site run-off water, roof run-off, or recycled gray water for irrigation or other code permissible uses. Water is effectively and practically stored and distributed to reduce the need for treated domestic water. This should represent at a minimum of 20% collection of roof area. 
    • Solar Energy - The project will utilize solar energy for any of the following: water heating; heat and cooling systems; lighting; or electric generation. 
    • Geothermal Heat Pumps - The project will utilize geothermal heat pumps for common area or apartment HVAC. 
    • Provide exterior lighting that meets the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) guidelines for lighting. Provide lighting that discourages light pollution or lighting that is excessive or inappropriate for outdoor lighting. Provide lighting that is directed toward the ground, is fully shielded and incorporates energy saving features such as timers, dimmers, and motion sensors in all outdoor lighting. 

(B) Energy and Water Conservation and Sustainability

DHCD will award a maximum of 6 additional points to projects to encourage design features that provide comfort and energy efficiency over the extended period of the project life and that assist DHCD in measuring energy conservation and sustainability outcomes.

  • Four (4) points will be awarded to rehabilitation projects if the project sponsor commits to incorporate into the scope of work all energy conservation measures (ECM) that result in an overall energy savings of 30% or greater over pre-retrofit levels as verified by a RESNET/BPI rater, or all of the ECMs having an SIR greater than 1.0 as determined by a comprehensive energy audit. 
  • Two (2) points will be awarded to a rehabilitation project that does not receive the four (4) points above if the project sponsor commits to incorporate into the scope of work all ECMs that result in an overall energy savings of 20% or greater over pre-retrofit levels, or all of the ECMs having an SIR greater than 1.5 as determined by a comprehensive energy audit 
  • Two (2) points will be awarded for any project utilizing alternative energy (solar, geothermal, etc.) for any of the following: water heating; heat and cooling; lighting; or electric generation for common areas or tenant units. 
  • Two (2) points will be awarded for any project if “Water Sense” labeled products are installed or retrofitted in all units and common facilities.
Attached Image: 
Contributed By: 
National Housing Trust

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