Low-Income Housing Tax Credits & Sustainable Development in Pennsylvania, 2017

Pennsylvania’s 2017 Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) requires that all buildings meet certain threshold requirements for green building standards. The QAP also awards points for projects that go beyond threshold requirements. for green building standards and sustainable communities

Green Building Standards

All projects including new construction and preservation are required to meet the below standards.

  • All new construction and rehabilitation developments must meet the mandatory measures outlined in the 2015 Enterprise Green Communities Criteria (see www.enterprisecommunity.com/criteria) which set forth minimum standards for design, location, site improvements, water conservation, energy efficiency, materials beneficial to the environment, healthy living, and operations and maintenance of the development. Preservation developments shall meet the mandatory measures found in the “Design Architect’s/Applicant’s Certification of Threshold Criteria” in the Guidelines. (Not required if Applicant commits to achieving certification under one of the Green Building Standards listed in the Selection Criteria.) 
  • Additionally, for new construction and rehabilitation developments, the overall U-value of the exterior building envelope must exceed the requirements of the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code Chapter 4 by 10% for buildings three stories or less in height as verified by a REScheck certificate. Buildings four or more stories in height must exceed the requirements of the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code Chapter 5 by 3%, as verified by a COMcheck certificate. Air sealing of the exterior building envelope and attic plane shall be included. Tradeoffs available in the REScheck or COMcheck software for mechanical equipment will not be allowed. (Not applicable to preservation developments.) 
  • In new construction and rehabilitation developments, all appliances, HVAC equipment with a capacity less than 60,000 btuh, gas fired water heaters, windows, ceiling fans, exhaust fans, range hoods and exit signs shall be Energy Star® labeled when such equipment and appliances exist. (Exceptions: programmable thermostats do not need to be provided, and windows in buildings over three stories in height may comply instead with ASHRAE Standard 189.1-2009.) (Packaged terminal air conditioners (PTACs) and packaged terminal heat pumps (PTHPs) may only be used if it can be proven that they comply with the prescriptive requirements of Energy Star ®Version 3.0 for air-source equipment.) In addition, 100% of the permanent room light fixtures in the dwelling units shall be equipped with LED bulbs, or high efficiency fluorescent with electronic ballasts; and 100% of the community room and common area corridor and stair lighting shall be fluorescent with electronic ballasts or shall utilize LED bulbs. 
  • In preservation developments, existing refrigerators more than 15 years old shall be replaced with Energy Star® labeled type. Existing heat pumps, air conditioning condensing units, and throughwall air conditioners more than 20 years old shall be replaced with Energy Star® labeled type, when such equipment exists. Existing furnaces and boilers more than 25 years old shall be replaced with Energy Star® labeled type, when such equipment exists. (Programmable thermostats do not need to be provided.) In addition, existing community room, common area corridor and stair lighting more than 15 years old shall be replaced with fluorescent fixtures with electronic ballasts or fixtures that utilize LED bulbs. Where windows are scheduled for replacement, replacement should be made with Energy Star® qualified products, except in buildings over three stories in height, where window replacement may comply instead with ASHRAE Standard 189.1-2009. 
  • All developers must certify that when existing equipment, appliances and products are replaced, they will be replaced with Energy Star® labeled equipment, when such equipment exists. 
  • All developments must meet the Additional Threshold Green Building Criteria set forth in the 2017/2018 Guidelines. Additional requirements include  performing an Energy Rebate Analysis, energy benchmarking, a physical capital needs assessment, and an energy audit.

Third Party Standards

  • Certification under a national Green Building Program. Ten (10) points may be given to new construction and substantial rehabilitation developments achieving certification under one of the following green building standards: 
    • Enterprise Green Communities – 2015 o LEED v4 BD+C Homes & Multifamily Lowrise (1-3 stories) – Silver 
    • LEED v4 BD+C Multifamily Midrise (4-8 stories) – Silver 
    • LEED v4 BD+C New Construction & Major renovation (over 8 stories) – Silver 
    • ICC/ASHRAE 700 National Green Building Standard – Silver
  • Ten (10) points may be given to preservation developments achieving certification under one of the following green building standards: 
    • Enterprise Green Communities – 2015 – Moderate Rehab 
    • LEED v4 O+M – Multifamily - Certified o ICC/ASHRAE 700 National Green Building Standard – Silver 
      • Under Section 305.3 – Whole Building Rating – Bronze
      • Under Section 305.4 – Functional Areas Rating – Compliant with Chapter 12 (must include kitchens and bathrooms)

Sustainability

Smart Site Selection – points may be awarded to the following types of properties: 

  • up to five (5) points may be awarded to those developments located on a brownfield; 
  • up to seven (7) points may be awarded to those developments considered residential infill; and 
  • up to ten (10) points may be awarded to those developments consisting of an adaptive reuse of an existing building. 

Energy Efficiency Goals 

In addition, Pennsylvania awards points for Energy Efficiency Goals. 5 points may be awarded to developments that exceed the requirements of Energy Star Version 3.0 by achieving a lower HERS Index as specified in the guidelines. 10 points may be awarded to developments which meet Passive House Requirements for energy efficiency. 

Innovation in Design

The Agency will hold a juried competition encouraging demonstrated innovation in housing which may be illustrated through excellence in design, implementation of current and future energy efficient technologies and materials and leveraging community and capital resources and will reserve Tax Credits to the winning development(s).

Contributed By: 
National Housing Trust

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