2019 LIHTC QAP Green Building Options

With over 22,000 EarthCraft-certified multifamily residences throughout Virginia, DC, and Maryland, it’s no wonder that Viridiant has become a trusted resource for the certification of energy-efficient, sustainable housing. But Viridiant offers more than just EarthCraft. Viridiant can provide verification for any of the certifications included in Virginia’s 2019 Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program and help teams cost effectively determine the best certification paths while also considering the impact on utility allowances and construction costs. Viridiant is your go-to team for green building programs and strategies. For more information or to talk through your options, contact Rob McRaney at (804) 212-1936 or rob.mcraney@viridiant.org.

2019 QAP Green Building Options

New Construction

Required

All new construction projects must meet the requirements of the ENERGY STAR program. There are two versions of the ENERGY STAR program—Homes and Multifamily High Rise (MFHR). Projects over 6 stories use the MFHR program. Most buildings 5 stories or less use the Homes program, but there are some exceptions.  Both versions require energy modeling, on-site verification, and diagnostic testing. The primary difference between the versions is that MFHR requires assessing whole building(s) and Homes only looks at residential spaces. This means that MFHR projects need ASHRAE 90.1 energy models and on-site verification is performed for all spaces in the project, not just residential ones. Viridiant can determine the appropriate version for your project, provide a quote for verification services, and assess your plans and specs for compliance.

OptionalGreen Building Certification, choose one. 10 Points.

For 10 points, projects may earn EarthCraft Gold, LEED, NGBS Silver, or Enterprise Green Communities certification. Each program focuses on similar categories such as energy and water efficiency, indoor air quality, durability, efficient material use during construction, and the location of the project site. Things to consider in the selection of a program are the local availability of qualified verifiers, familiarity of the project team with the program, mandatory program items, and the certification review time. Viridiant can provide a quote for any of these certifications and assess your plans and specs for compliance.

Future Points, choose one or both. 10 points each.

It is possible to gain up to 20 points on future VHDA LIHTC applications if a principal on that application is also a principal on a tax credit development in Virginia that meets either Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) or Passive House requirements, or both. 10 points are awarded per program. ZERH typically represents an incremental improvement over ENERGY STAR and other green building programs. It also requires earning the Indoor airPlus certification. Viridiant is able to provide assistance with identifying the most cost-effective path for meeting ZERH. Passive House, which requires meeting ZERH as part of the certification, typically represents a significant shift from typical building practices. Time is required to refine the design early on so the project can submit for Pre-Certification. Viridiant can provide verification for Passive House projects and assist with design, as needed.

Renovation

Required

Renovation projects must either demonstrate a 30% improvement in energy efficiency, based on an improvement in the HERS index, or score a HERS of 80 or less. Viridiant will perform energy modeling to generate a HERS index of the project as it exists and what it would be with the proposed scope. If a project is not meeting either of the requirements, Viridiant will propose scope changes.

Optional, Green Building Certification, choose one. 10 Points.

For 10 points, projects may earn EarthCraft Gold, LEED, NGBS Silver, or Enterprise Green Communities certification. Each program focuses on similar categories such as energy and water efficiency, indoor air quality, durability, efficient material use during construction, and the location of the project site. LEED for Homes and Enterprise Green Communities do not have programs specific to renovation projects. Projects choosing to pursue either of these certifications will be held to new construction standards. Other things to consider in the selection of a program are the local availability of qualified verifiers, familiarity of the project team with the program, mandatory program items, and the certification review response time. Viridiant can provide a quote for any of these certifications and assess your plans and specs for compliance.

Future Points, choose one or both. 10 points each.

It is possible to gain up to 20 points on future VHDA LIHTC applications if a principal on that application is also a principal on a tax credit development in Virginia that meets either Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) or Passive House requirements, or both. 10 points are awarded per program. Both of these programs are primarily for new construction projects and require ENERGY STAR, which is a program for new construction or gut rehabs.

ZERH typically represents an incremental improvement over ENERGY STAR and other green building programs. It also requires earning the Indoor airPlus certification. Viridiant is able to provide assistance with identifying the most cost-effective path for meeting ZERH.  Passive House, which requires meeting ZERH as part of the certification, typically represents a significant shift from typical building practices. Time is required to refine the design early on so the project can submit for Pre-Certification. Viridiant can provide verification for Passive House projects and assist with design, as needed.

Adaptive Reuse

Required

Adaptive reuse projects must score a HERS of 95 or less. Viridiant will perform energy modeling based on the proposed scope in order to generate a HERS. If a project is scoring a 96 or higher, Viridiant will also propose scope changes to lower the HERS to a 95 or better.

Optional, Green Building Certification, choose one. 10 Points.

For 10 points, projects may earn EarthCraft Gold, LEED, NGBS Silver, or Enterprise Green Communities certification. Each program focuses on similar categories such as energy and water efficiency, indoor air quality, durability, efficient material use during construction, and the location of the project site. LEED for Homes and Enterprise Green Communities do not have programs specific to adaptive reuse or renovation projects. Projects choosing to pursue either of these certifications will be held to new construction standards. Other things to consider in the selection of a program are the local availability of qualified verifiers, familiarity of the project team with the program, mandatory program items, and the certification review response time. Viridiant can provide a quote for any of these certifications and assess your plans and specs for compliance.

Future Points, choose one or both. 10 points each.

It is possible to gain up to 20 points on future VHDA LIHTC applications if a principal on that application is also a principal on a tax credit development in Virginia that meets either Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) or Passive House requirements, or both. 10 points are awarded per program. Both of these programs are primarily for new construction projects and require ENERGY STAR, which is a program for new construction or gut rehabs.

ZERH typically represents an incremental improvement over ENERGY STAR and other green building programs. It also requires earning the Indoor airPlus certification. Viridiant is able to provide assistance with identifying the most cost-effective path for meeting ZERH.  Passive House, which requires meeting ZERH as part of the certification, typically represents a significant shift from typical building practices. Time is required to refine the design early on so the project can submit for Pre-Certification. Viridiant can provide verification for Passive House projects and assist with design, as needed.

Webinar: Navigating Green Building Certification in Virginia's 2019 LIHTC QAP

2019 QAP Important Dates

The following dates will apply for Pre-Review of 2019 competitive tax credit projects, to ensure a thorough review and timely turnaround of all requested documentation:

  • January 23: An EarthCraft Building Professional Training will be hosted in Richmond. We encourage project team members to attend this training to learn more about the ENERGY STAR and EarthCraft certification processes, Pre-Review, and green building best practices. Click to learn more about training details or register.
  • February 28: Rehabilitation projects should submit the Pre-Review form, specifications, and drawings. We recommend these projects complete the submittal as soon as possible so, if necessary, Viridiant’s Technical Advisors will have ample time to schedule and visit the project to inspect current conditions and conduct baseline diagnostic testing.
  • March 7: New Construction and Adaptive Reuse projects should submit the Pre-Review form, specifications, and drawings.
  • March 14: VHDA LIHTC Application Deadline
Utility Allowances

Viridiant can calculate Utility Allowances (UA) for your project. Whether you are a developer with existing projects or you are starting a new project, we want to help sharpen your estimates and increase cash flow. Viridiant is the Agency Estimate option approved through VHDA for UA calculations. Using energy modeling, Viridiant determines UA projections for each bedroom type. We consider specific factors including unit size, orientation, building materials, mechanical systems, appliances, and characteristics of the building location.

When you submit your project’s Pre-Review form you can opt to receive a preliminary UA for your LIHTC application for a flat $300 fee.

Getting Started

The QAP will include a RESNET Rater Certification of Development Plans appendix page that a RESNET Rater must sign to certify. The Rater will certify that the development’s plans and specifications meet required baseline energy levels, as well as program requirements for any selected optional green building certifications. Viridiant’s qualified RESNET Raters will sign off on this page and provide the required HERS Reports after the project completes our Pre-Review process. The current online Pre-Review form will ask you to:

  • Fill out specifications through the online form or upload the Viridiant Specifications Sheet
  • Upload a digital set of scalable plans (including floor plans, elevations, & exterior wall sections)
  • Pay $500 Pre-Review fee (plus $300 UA fee if requested)

Projects will be reviewed in the order we receive complete submissions. 2019 competitive tax credit project teams are strongly encouraged to submit the Pre-Review form before the following dates:

  • February 28: Renovation projects
  • March 7: New construction & adaptive reuse projects

Based on the information and materials submitted, Viridiant’s RESNET Raters will build energy models and provide feedback. This quick review means we can hit the ground running after projects are funded and keep the project moving smoothly on track towards certification. After Viridiant completes this preliminary review, one of our HERS Raters will sign off on your LIHTC Reservation Application.

To get started create a user login if you need to save and return to your Pre-Review submittal(s), or proceed with submitting the Pre-Review form below.