Green Mandate an Obstacle to HOPE VI Support
The House on Jan. 17 approved H.R. 3524, the Hope VI Improvement and Reauthorization Improvement Act of 2007.
While NAHB has long supported the HOPE VI program, a unique initiative that has contributed to the revitalization of some of the most difficult public housing neighborhoods in the nation, the association ultimately opposed the bill because it would mandate green building requirements through the Green Communities program and the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.
In a letter sent to the House leadership and rank-and-file members, NAHB said that while the nation’s home builders have long been a strong advocate for the Hope VI program, the association opposes the use of exclusionary green rating tools as mandatory provisions in the bill.
“As leaders in green building, NAHB believes this mandate is an obstacle to affordability; particularly for a program bound by strict statutory cost constraints,” the NAHB letter stated. “The explicit reference to specific rating tools in this legislation is overly restrictive, costly and could limit the number of projects that can be undertaken within the Hope VI program. Most importantly, the Green Communities and LEED rating tools are not accredited construction standards.”
On Jan. 11, NAHB met with the majority staff of the House Financial Services Committee to try to reach a resolution on the green building mandate, but was unsuccessful.
However, during floor consideration, NAHB worked with Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.) to offer an amendment to address home builder concerns with the mandatory green building provisions in H.R. 3524.
NAHB was prepared to support the bill if the Capito amendment was approved. However, it failed by a vote of 169 to 240 and the final bill passed by a 271 to 30 margin with the mandatory provisions intact.
The debate now turns to the Senate. The Senate Hope VI bill does not contain any green building mandates, and NAHB will continue to fight against inclusion of mandates.
To view the House bill, click here and type H.R. 3524 in the box in the upper center of the page.
For more information, e-mail Elizabeth Odina at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8570.