BofA Sponsors Grants for Neighborhood Development LEED Projects

BofA Sponsors Grants for Neighborhood Development LEED Projects

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation and the U.S. Green Building Council have launched a grant program to support the creation of healthy, green neighborhoods that integrate business districts and commercial buildings with residential areas, retail, services and public transit all within walkable distances.

The Affordable Green Neighborhoods Grant Program is intended to help lift the barriers to pursuit of LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) projects, in which affordable green housing is a key component.

The standards for LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) became official in spring after a three-year pilot. The standards are intended to foster the transformation of communities into green neighborhoods that embody smart growth and resource and energy efficiency.

The grant program, which is accepting 2010 applications until September 9, supports those efforts by awarding financial and educational resources to developers and public agencies that pursue LEED-ND certification. Grant seekers must demonstrate a commitment toward strengthening existing communities by providing affordable green housing within reach of a range of income levels, the foundation and the USGBC said.

Grant-winning projects, which will be selected by a review committee of industry leaders, will receive:

  • A cash reward of $20,000 that can be used toward LEED for Neighborhood Development certification.
  • A complimentary LEED for Neighborhood Development Reference Guide
  • Registration for an online LEED for Neighborhood Development webinar
  • Registration for two LEED for Neighborhood Development workshops
  • A discounted membership for the U.S. Green Building Council
  • Waived registration and exam fees for one employee to pursue the LEED Accredited Professional credential with Neighborhoood Development as a specialty

Applicants are expected to receive word about their status in October. Grants will be awarded in late fall and early winter.

In announcing the new program, BofA and the USGBC cited the critical need for healthy, affordable housing in the United States and said green building can satisfy that demand.

"By partnering with the Bank of America, which has so generously helped fund these projects, we can encourage more developers to consider green communities and green affordable homes through the LEED for Neighborhood Development program," said USGBC's Senior Vice President for LEED Scot Horst in a statement.

"The ripple effect created by offsetting the costs of LEED for Neighborhood Development training and certification will help create more green affordable housing, while advancing the sustainability of entire neighborhoods," said Kerry Sullivan, president, Bank of America Charitable Foundation.

More information about the Affordable Green Neighborhoods Grants, including a free webinar about the program, is available from the USGBC at www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=2184.

New research from the Earth Advantage Institute points out further benefits of green building. The institute found that from May last year to April 30 this year, new third-party certified green homes in the Portland metro area sold for 18 percent more than new non-certified houses. Green-certified existing homes commanded a 23 percent price premium. The findings were based on data reported by the Portland Regional Multiple Listing Service to the institute.

The institute also found that the market share of third-party certified homes increased even as new home construction declined. The research also showed that 23 percent of all new homes sold in the area were third-party certified as green homes according to Earth Advantage, Energy Star or LEED standards.

The report is available for free download from the institute at www.earthadvantage.org/uploads/GBVI_Report.pdf.

Image courtesy of Navy Yard at Noisette, which was certified under the LEED-ND pilot program in February.