El Paso Encourages Use of Green Building Standard
City officials in El Paso, Texas, are encouraging the growth of green building with a new tax incentive for home builders who certify homes to the National Green Building Standard.
The city expects to see an influx of more than 23,000 active-duty military personnel who will soon be arriving at Fort Bliss from other Army posts under a Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) consolidation effort. While the Army planned to build some retail and entertainment infrastructure, it made clear that it was relying on local builders to produce appropriate housing — primarily low-cost multifamily homes — for the coming wave of new residents.
Realizing that the existing housing stock would be insufficient to meet the needs of the incoming population, the El Paso city manager and the economic development director convened a series of roundtables with local builders — mostly multifamily builders — in late 2008 and through 2009.
To encourage more construction, city officials offered the builders a tax abatement, which was welcome following a recent increase in development taxes and fees.
Participating in the discussions, Bobby Bowling, president of Tropicana Homes and then-chair of the NAHB Multifamily Council, suggested that the city also offer an incentive for building green, which would not only generate good press for the city and the building industry, but also would enable builders to reduce energy costs for the residents who, for the most part, would be enlisted personnel at the lower end of the military pay scale.
Bowling suggested that the city should use the National Green Building Standard, the only rating system designed specifically for residential construction — including single-family, multifamily and remodeling projects.
Following Bowling’s recommendation, city officials educated themselves about the green rating system and its application at www.nahbgreen.org, which includes the scoring tool for the standard, information on green building practices and links to verifiers.
As a result, as of Feb. 23 the city’s multifamily builders have been eligible to receive not only the city’s tax abatement, but also an incentive payment of $100 per unit for the first 4,000 homes constructed and certified to any level of the National Green Building Standard.
For more information, e-mail Ann Marie Moriarty at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8350.