One Component of a larger QAP rewrite following the end of ARRA program funding. Without a significant overhaul to the QAP, Michigan was in serious danger of failing to attract LIHTC equity without federal subsidy. It was important that the Authority reviewed ALL aspects of the QAP when this rewrite began to bring all components up to speed. Green was simply a piece of a larger puzzle. The original MSHDA green or “new urbanism” point scoring mechanism was flawed and easily manipulated. There was no standard evaluation protocol or verification methodology. Square peg : Round hole. Prior iterations of the Michigan QAP (GC/NU introduced in 2008 and refined in 2009; Preamble to 2011 QAP created a working group on best practices in green affordable housing and portended a future revamp/rewrite). Additionally, the last state government re-organization merged the SHPO with MSHDA and placed an increased emphasis on the role of historic preservation in affordable housing development – a natural synergy with sustainability initiatives.
Similar to a design charrette, a process was proposed to include parties interested in the QAP development. These included: For profit & non-profit developers Project development teams Architects Engineers Property Mgmt Environmental Consultants Industry trade associations Michigan Housing Council – State lobby for affordable housing development, preservation and property mgmt Great Lakes Capital Fund – tax credit syndicator based in Lansing, MI with operations throughout the Midwest
MSHDA Staff developed a guiding principle for the focus group discussions in order to promote healthy, green, and sustainable building practices within the QAP: Design policies within the QAP that incentivize and reward developers for the planning and development of affordable housing that incorporates the most current green building practices and enables Authority staff to reliably determine compliance prior to the issuance of IRS Form 8609. Technical complexity necessitates transparency – which rating system(s); what type of housing (elderly or family; tower or campus; rehab or NC). One size DOES NOT fit all.
Because MSHDA’s mission and vision statements contemplate the creation and preservation of affordable housing that sustains communities and improves quality of life for Michigan’s low and moderate-income residents, three main objectives for the QAP Green Policy were identified: 1. Encourage/Incentivize: provide appropriate incentives to developers to incorporate sensible green criteria that reduces resource consumption, improves water and energy use efficiency, and improves resident health. Sustainable Development Preservation of Affordable Housing – rehab preferred to NC, Brownfield preferred to Greenfield 2. Connect to National Standard(s) – LEED Rating System(s) & Enterprise Foundation Green Communities 3. Verification/Evaluation – By connecting to third party standards the responsibility for administrative review was shifted to those persons with green building expertise and away from LIHTC allocation staff at MSHDA.
Deciding what to keep and what to scrap: Clear preference for green compliance “options” Delineate NC/Preservation/Adaptive Reuse but make addt’l point level Implement a baseline “MSHDA standard” that is seamless with national standards as mandatory. Addt’l points for certification. Leaving the door open to future improvements/updates: LEED and Green Communities are dynamic and future updates will be more easily synchronized into future iterations of the Michigan QAP. By placing an emphasis on verification and evaluation MSHDA hopes to identify pilot projects for data collection
A Brief Overview: Designed as a “baseline” to seamlessly integrate with both LEED & Green Communities. Low hanging fruit: Minimize Greenfield development Native Landscaping & Efficient Irrigation Water conserving fixtures Energy Efficient – appliances, lighting (indoor/outdoor), HVAC & HWH, Metering Low/No VOC’s Energy Star rated bathroom ventilation O&M – Recycling facilities and resident/staff operating manuals
Developing a Green Policy for the State of Michigan QAP SOLUTIONS FOR SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES 2011 LEARNING CONFERENCE ON STATE & LOCAL HOUSING POLICY WASHINGTON, DC | SEPTEMBER 26-28, 2011 SESSION 3.2: Effectively Using Green Rating Systems & Standards