Virginia Leads the Southeast in Nationwide Ranking of Green Affordable Building

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News Release
January 9, 2014

The Virginia Housing Development Authority Finds Success Using the EarthCraft Program

Richmond, VA – January 9, 2014 – Global Green USA, a national environmental organization, has recognized Virginia for green building practices promoted by Qualified Allocation Plans (QAP), each state’s guidelines for allocating Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). In 2012, the organization awarded the state of Virginia an “A-” score based on the analysis of green building criteria in QAPs nationally. In 2013, Virginia also received an “A-,” but gained 2 points, receiving 45 of the maximum 50 and moving the state into the lead within the Southeast.

Virginia’s high ranking can be attributed to the Virginia Housing Development Authority’s (VHDA) commitment to sustainable affordable housing by incentivizing the use of the EarthCraft Multifamily Green Building Certification program as part of their QAP for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program.

“When VHDA decided to change its QAP 10 years ago to encourage green building construction techniques, it created a positive effect on affordable housing developments in Virginia,” said VHDA Executive Director Susan Dewey. “By more than doubling the points for green building in tax credit applications, we began seeing a steep increase in the number of applicants deciding to build green. In fact, we have now seen 100 percent participation in the program for several years in a row.”

“In 2013, VHDA further enhanced the program when EarthCraft Virginia switched from an energy percentage system to a tiered certification system. VHDA recognized that points should be awarded based on these new certification levels, and we changed our QAP accordingly. As a result, all developers receiving tax credits last year agreed to build their proposed developments at the highest EarthCraft level possible. The best thing about this program is that it’s assisting tenants in the form of utility costs that are much lower than the national average for rental housing.”

With the 2013 QAP analysis, Global Green continues to recognize the value of third-party verified LIHTC projects by awarding additional points for states that require project verification as part of their QAP. VHDA’s decision to incentivize the EarthCraft Multifamily program, which holds diagnostic testing and verification as its foundation, ensures the highest quality building practices throughout the state.

VHDA’s leadership encourages sustainable housing with minimal impact on the environment, but the true beneficiaries of this partnership are the residents as, on average, EarthCraft Virginia projects provide average energy savings of 42% for renovated units (from pre-existing standards) and 27% over code for new construction units. This unique third-party approach ensures a consistent source of public and private investments towards sustainable and vibrant communities within the state.

“As far as we can see,” said K.C. McGurren, EarthCraft Virginia’s Executive Director, “VHDA is a national leader in the advancement of green affordable housing, because unlike other green building programs, developers certifying with EarthCraft Virginia are all held to the same performance standards which are tested and verified to ensure that all residents live in a home that is healthy, comfortable and affordable. With over 10,000 EarthCraft Multifamily dwelling units certified in Virginia, healthy sustainable living has been made available to people of all incomes.”

The EarthCraft program, first developed by Southface Energy Institute in Atlanta, also led to Georgia’s “A-” ranking, and with over 20,000 certified EarthCraft Multifamily units throughout the Southeast, it becomes clear that the EarthCraft program is a true success story for the world of high performance home building.

To see the full rankings report, click here.

About the Virginia Housing Development Authority
VHDA is a self-supporting, not-for-profit organization created by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1972, to help Virginians attain quality, affordable housing. VHDA provides mortgages, primarily for first-time homebuyers and developers of quality rental housing. We use no state taxpayer dollars, but raise money in the capital markets to fund our loans. We also teach free homeownership classes, and help people with disabilities and the elderly make their homes more livable. VHDA works with lenders, developers, local governments, community service organizations and others to help put quality housing within the reach of every Virginian.

For more information about VHDA, please visit us at

About EarthCraft Virginia
EarthCraft Virginia, a 501c3 non-profit, was established in 2006 in partnership with the Home Builders Association of Virginia and Southface Energy Institute with assistance from the Virginia Community Development Corporation. The EarthCraft House program, originally founded in 1999 by non-profit Southface and the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association, serves as a blueprint for energy and resource efficient homes built in the Southeast. Throughout the Southeast, the program has certified over 8,000 homes and more than 20,000 multifamily dwelling units. For more information on EarthCraft or EarthCraft Virginia, please visit and

EarthCraft Virginia’s partners include Southface Energy Institute, the Home Builders Association of Virginia, Habitat for Humanity of Virginia, and Virginia Housing Development Authority.

About Global Green USA
Global Green USA is dedicated to helping the places, the people, and the planet in need through catalytic projects, transformative policy, and cutting-edge research. Global Green USA’s signature programs include greening affordable housing, schools, neighborhoods, and cities as well as rebuilding communities – such as New Orleans and areas of New York and New Jersey – that have suffered from the impacts of climate change, sea level rise, and environmental degradation. Global Green USA is the U.S. affiliate of Green Cross International, which was founded by President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1993 to foster a global value shift toward a sustainable and secure future. For more information, visit and follow us at @globalgreen.

Stuart Raper, Director of External Affairs
EarthCraft Virginia

Brian Matt, PR Manager
Virginia Housing Development Authority
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