Affordable housing developments in Utah are going to get a vital boost of energy efficiency and electric vehicle charging thanks to new incentives recently approved by the Utah Housing Corporation board. The changes encourage developers to build more energy efficient developments and expand access to EV charging. These new incentives will bring the benefits of energy efficiency and electrification to low-income families in our community.
“The Utah Housing Corporation has a long-standing commitment to energy efficiency in affordable housing. These new incentives are a pragmatic way to help Utah’s low-income communities access tools to save energy and reduce pollution. It is a win-win for all of us” states Claudia O’Grady, Vice President of Multifamily Finance and Development at the Utah Housing Corporation, an independent entity that administers federal low-income housing tax credits in Utah, which play a vital role in supporting affordable housing developments across the state.
This updated plan is a positive move toward ensuring that Utah’s low-income families enjoy the benefits of energy efficient, comfortable, and healthy housing options, while also removing an obstacle for electric vehicle adoption.
Utah Clean Energy is especially excited to see that the 2024 plan includes bonus points for affordable housing that meets the new ENERGY STAR NextGen certification standard. This new certification builds on superior levels of energy efficiency and affordability from Energy Star-certified construction and also incorporates high efficiency electric equipment for space heating, water heating, cooking, and the like.
How does this work?
The State of Utah 2024 Federal and State Housing Credit Program Allocation Plan (Plan) governs how low-income housing tax credits are allocated to affordable housing projects in Utah. For years, the Plan has required affordable multifamily housing in Utah to meet ENERGY STAR standards for new construction – which result in a 15% to 20% energy efficiency improvement over a housing development built to the minimum energy code. In addition, the Plan has previously rewarded bonus points for affordable housing developments that are certified to meet the Enterprise Green Community standard. The updated Plan for 2024 expands the eligibility for these bonus points to affordable housing projects meet one of the following energy efficient and green building standards:
- ENERGY STAR NextGen
- Green Globes
- LEED certification
- National Green Building Standard
- Passive House
- Zero Energy Ready Home
- WELL Building Standard
The Plan also adds new bonus points when EV charging stations are included in multifamily affordable housing developments. This removes a common barrier to adoption of electric vehicles: lack of easy access to EV charging. An estimated 80% of EV charging takes place at home, and with the updated Plan, developers will be awarded bonus points for installing either Level 2 or DC Fast Charging facilities for the use of affordable housing tenants. This complements other incentives, such as Rocky Mountain Power rebates for EV charging and “make ready” investments that prepare sites for future installation of EV charging, as well as the $4,000 federal tax credit for pre-owned electric vehicles, that are meant to help low- and moderate-income families with purchasing pre-owned electric vehicles.
An all-around win – improved air quality, reduced energy costs, and increased comfort
Utah Clean Energy collaborated with a group of affordable housing developers to propose the energy-related updates. The developers and development professionals involved in creating and proposing the updates are:
- Ivan Carroll and Amanda Dillon, Giv Group
- Peter Corroon, Sentry Financial
- Bryson C. Garbett, Garbett Homes
- Arlie Green, Utah Nonprofit Housing Corporation
- Peter Tomai, Specific Performance, Inc.
- Tony Tyler, Columbus Pacific
“With the changing technology and new federal programs, it is good to see the state incorporating more energy related criteria and information into this plan. These changes will make a fantastic difference” states Arlie Green from Utah Non-Profit Housing Corporation. “We appreciate that the Utah Housing Corporation adopted feedback from developers and we think the energy related changes will help our projects contribute to improved quality of life – both for those who will live in the affordable housing projects that we build, and also the larger community.”