The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Bank of America Charitable Foundation recently announced the opening of the application period for the expanded Affordable Green Neighborhoods Grant Program.
The program, which awards financial and educational resources to developers of affordable housing in North America that are committed to building sustainable communities through the LEED for Neighborhood Development program, is made possible by an $850,000 grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, according to Alex Liftman, global environmental executive, Bank of America.
This year the program will expand to 14 awardees from 10 in 2012, the most recent year that grants were awarded. Applications will be accepted from now until July 11, 2014.
LEED for Neighborhood Development is a green neighborhood rating system that integrates the principles of smart growth, new urbanism and green building, while benefitting communities by reducing urban sprawl, increasing transportation choices and decreasing automobile dependence, encouraging healthy living, and protecting threatened species.
“Ensuring universal access to healthy and affordable housing for all people is a critical element of our pursuit of a sustainable built environment,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “Green buildings and neighborhoods are about the people who inhabit them every day, and Bank of America is committed to creating vibrant, walkable and affordable communities that enhance the quality of life for everyone who calls them home.”
“Together, Bank of America and USGBC are bringing to life the best plans in sustainable community development throughout North America,” said Liftman. “The continued growth of the LEED for Neighborhood Development and the Affordable Green Neighborhood programs showcases how communities can design and build in a way that protects our environment while enhancing economic vitality.”
A review committee of industry leaders will award 14 affordable housing projects in the U.S. and Canada with the following support:
• Cash award of $25,000 USD to be used to pursue LEED for Neighborhood Development certification
• Complimentary LEED for Neighborhood Development reference guide
• Registration for the online LEED for Neighborhood Development webinar series
• Registration for a LEED for Neighborhood Development educational workshop
• Waived registration and exam fees for one member of each project team to pursue the LEED Green Associate professional credential
• Monthly support calls and direct access for technical inquiries
• One registration for the National Affordable Green Homes & Sustainable Communities Summit during the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in New Orleans
• Travel stipend to attend Greenbuild 2014
In addition to the award package, three to four projects will be selected to receive a two-day, in-person technical assistance session with a team of USGBC and Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) staff, valued at $3,000. The in-person meetings provide an opportunity for USGBC and GBCI staff to provide intensive, dedicated assistance to projects pursuing certification. The application form provides interested projects the opportunity to apply for the selective technical assistance sessions.
This is the third round of funding the Bank of America Charitable Foundation has provided for the Affordable Green Neighborhoods Grant Program. The 2014 program has grown to include support for additional projects, in-person technical assistance visits and an expanded focus to include Canadian projects.
Through the previous cycles of the grant program in 2012 and 2010, USGBC has provided assistance to 20 affordable housing redevelopment projects across the country, representing the creation of 8,448 rental units and 2,391 for-sale units. All projects are being designed and built to the highest standards of environmental sustainability and indoor air quality, with the majority reserved for low-income residents.
Applicants for the program will be notified of their status in early September. To learn more about the Affordable Green Neighborhoods Grant Program and/or to apply, visit usgbc.org/initiatives/grants/affordable-neighborhoods.