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Synopsis of HFA Green Building Guidelines

Governor Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard goal is to reduce carbon emissions in New York State by 40% by 2030. 

To help meet this objective, HCR will implement new green building guidelines in 2017.

This will bring the Housing Finance Agency’s (HFA) requirements into alignment with the HCR 9% low income tax credit housing program. Detailed Green Guidelines can be accessed here: HFA Green Guidelines


All new construction projects must meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star Programs standards as defined below to enable projects to be Climate Bond Certified as Green Bonds, using criteria established by the Climate Bond Initiative (CBI).

  • Energy Star Programs
    • EPA Multifamily High-rise
    • EPA Certified Homes 3.0 (must be 9% more efficient)
    • EPA Certified Homes 3.1 (must be 8% more efficient)

In addition, new construction projects must also select one or both of these two programs:

  • Enterprise Green Communities Criteria
  • NYSERDA Low-Rise New Construction Program or Multifamily New Construction Program

As an alternative to these two standards, HFA may choose to approve projects that prefer to implement standards of one of the nationally recognized leaders in the sustainability and energy efficiency industry listed below.

  • Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) or Passive House Institute (PHI)
  • National Green Building Standard
  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

Applicants must document that project meets the rigorous CBI criteria for low carbon emissions.

Applications must include signed contracts with qualified energy consultants to certify that the criteria of selected standards will be met. 


The determination of the Scope of Services for existing buildings should be based on a physical or capital needs assessment (PNA or CNA) that is combined with an energy audit. 
Applicants are to include qualifications of consultants for both segments of the team. 

By June of 2017, a new format for this combined evaluation, called the Integrated PNA (IPNA), will be made available and will be required to be included in the HFA application submission.

Preservation projects must select standards set by nationally recognized leaders in the sustainability and energy efficiency industry, NYSERDA programs, or at a minimum meet the Moderate Rehabilitation criteria defined by HCR (see Green Guidelines).

Applicants can choose from the following: 

  • EPA Energy Star Programs
  • Enterprise Green Communities Existing Buildings
  • Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) or Passive House Institute (PHI)
  • National Green Building Standard (existing building criteria)
  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Existing Buildings
  • NYSERDA Multifamily Performance Program
  • HCR Moderate Rehabilitation Criteria

Projects involving the adaptive reuse of historic properties may seek waivers where there are conflicts between the selected standards and requirements for historic tax credits and/or local landmarks regulations. Waivers for any other projects will only be considered in extreme cases and applicant must provide detailed documentation of the extenuating circumstances justifying the waiver request.

HFA requires that all properties use benchmarking software services to provide automated energy usage data directly from utility companies.

This monthly collected utility data, is to include fuel, electricity and water usage, and is to be uploaded to an EPA ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager® account designated by HCR and reported to HCR on an annual basis. 

This reporting requirement will continue throughout the duration of the project’s HCR regulatory agreement as part of asset management.

For new construction, documentation of the benchmarking service provider should be provided to HFA at construction loan conversion. 

Preservation projects must submit two prior years of utility use data to HFA in this benchmarking format as part of application.

For questions, contact:

Karen Phillips
(212) 872-0496