Poverty/Income Inequality, Economic Development
Is a “green building” an energy efficient building? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is “not necessarily.” As the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) notes, green building rating systems are flexible, and buildings with poor energy efficiency may be certified “green.” Accordingly, how do green rating systems address energy efficiency and what rating system is best suited to controlling operating costs in affordable housing projects? To answer this question, I will examine three rating systems commonly associated with green building and affordable housing. First, I will examine the U.S. Green Building Council’s (“USGBC”) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (“LEED”) rating system, which is arguably the industry standard for green building. Second, I will look at Enterprise Incorporated’s Green Communities program. The Green Communities program is a private sector initiative dedicated to providing funding for green affordable housing. Third and finally, I will discuss the federal government’s Energy Star program.