Does your green building certification project qualify for a low-interest rate loan from government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)?
Knowing the answer to that question might mean that you could be getting all the benefits of building green –increased top-line revenue, greater market share, operational excellence, resiliency, improved community impact, and tenant health and well-being – while also getting help to pay for it!
Financial incentives like low-interest rate loans are important to a project’s pro forma, and once you know which of the certifications are feasible and cost-effective, you can have a big impact on a project’s bottom line.
Beyond your own project financing goals, qualifying for a low-interest green loan is also attractive to potential buyers eyeing your project down the line. With a green certification in place, buyers have the same access to low-interest green loans as project owners do, making the project an attractive asset.
What are your options?
When it comes to pursuing a green certification, you have a lot of flexibility. Certifications that qualify for GSE loans include LEED, Green Globes, Earth Craft, Energy Star, Green Communities, GreenPoint, National Green Building Standard, and others. Not all of these, however, may suit your specific project.
Paladino regularly conducts feasibility analyses of the mechanical, structural, and programmatic elements of a project to help clients determine which certification is the most appropriate. These analyses can quickly rule out certifications that may have sustainability merit, but won’t result in a net financial gain for the project.
How it works
There are several basic, mostly unchangeable project factors that we assess when first narrowing down the list of possible certifications. Depending on your region, the GSE programs available, and the specifics of your real estate project, the project may not be eligible for certain certifications. These basic factors include:
- Building type
- Inclusion of affordable housing
- Employment constraints regarding verified architects, builders, and assessors
Based on this preliminary analysis, we devise a preliminary list of possible green certifications that are suitable for your project.
Then, we assess how cohesive the remaining certifications are with your project. We evaluate compliance with the various prerequisites, credits, or criteria specific to each certification; we provide a roadmap of what changes – if any – need to be made to the project to pursue certification, and we highlight the pros and cons of the different certification possibilities. This provides project owners and decision makers with the landscape needed to begin deciding whether or not to pursue a green certification.
Finally, we facilitate a cost-benefit analysis for pursuing the most relevant green certification for the project.
Spending money to make money
Project owners should consider the costs for certification as an investment to back-check the project’s sustainability strategies. While there are hard costs for the certification, as well as soft costs related to possible changes in design and construction, the reduced interest rates and competitive advantage gained through green certification can offset or negate these costs.
If you think your project might qualify for one of these loans, don’t hesitate to reach out to Paladino and Company. We can provide a holistic analysis that will help you to make a thought-out decision about pursuing green certification. This up-front step will preserve valuable time and resources. If you decide to proceed with a low-interest green loan, we can guide you through the certification process.
- GSA and sustainability here.
- Fannie Mae green financing loan information here.
- Freddie Mac Green Advantage program here.
- HUD lower multifamily insurance rate for energy-efficient projects information here.