Green Support

An assortment of funding sources can help offset the costs of going green.

Deciding to go green is one thing. Paying for it is quite another. But there's good news: On a state-by-state basis, a growing number of public and private groups are providing incentives to help developers (particularly in the affordable sector) pay for many of the upfront costs of green building. Just ask Wyllys Mann, a project manager for Chicago-based East Lake Management & Development Corp.

Thanks to his savvy research skills, Mann is well on the way to finding grants and other financial incentives to completely cover the $600,000 additional cost to bring green features to Washington Park, an affordable 63-unit single room occupancy project in Chicago costing a total of $10.26 million. "I said to my boss, can we make this [building] green, and she said you can hug trees all you want as long as it doesn't cost me anything," says Mann.

The project's funding sources include grants from such diverse places as the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, and Enterprise's Green Communities initiative. "With the joys of the Internet, it's not that hard to spend some time on Google and find some [options]," says Mann. "Every time you open one door, you tend to find a few more." Greg Kats, the founding principal of a Washington, D.C.-based green consulting firm called Capital E, estimates that more than 100 cities, states, and counties either require or provide incentives for green building.

Many jurisdictions also are awarding extra points in the low-income housing tax credit application to developers who incorporate a green design. The growing list of states that offer such an incentive include Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, and Nevada. And something as small as a few extra points can give a project the edge it needs in the competitive tax credit arena. Going green helped Park View at Snowden River, a 100-unit affordable community in Columbia, Md., secure low-income tax credits. "The four extra points you got for being green differentiated winners and losers," says Ed Hord, principal of Hord Coplan Macht, a Baltimore, Md.-based architecture firm which designed the project.

Green Bargains

These products offer an easy, affordable way to make your property more eco-friendly.

Want a green property without busting your budget? Here are a handful of eco-friendly products that cost the same (or minimally more) than their traditional counterpart. And some of these will even score you points in green rating systems such as LEED.

Window Treatment

For maximum energy efficiency, try Wausau's 2250 Series of windows. The product is certified by the National Fenestration Rating Council for energy performance. The complete product line (called Advantage) also includes standard double-hung, rolling, and projected windows available with multiple configurations, glass options, accessories, and finishes. For more information, contact Wausau Window and Wall Systems at 877-678-2983 or visit www.wausauwindow.com.

Color Your World

Don't let paint fumes invade your space. Duration Home Interior Latex Coating carries the company's GreenSure designation for its low-VOC formula, low odor, and resistance to mildew. Plus, the product offers superior washability and burnish resistance, the company says. The paint is available in matte and satin finishes in a wide array of colors. For more information, contact Sherwin-Williams at 800-474-3794 or visit www.sherwin-williams.com.

Natural Step

Get creative with Marmoluem Click, a click-into-place system with a wide assortment of colorful panels and squares. This linoleum product is made primarily from linseed oil, wood flour (a finely ground wood cellulose) and pine rosins. The flooring option is ideal for people with asthmatic allergies and other respiratory disorders as it is easily kept dust-free. For more information, contact Forbo Flooring at 866-627-6653 or visit www.themarmoleumstore.com.

Get Your Wheaties

You can't tell by looking, but these cabinets are made from formaldehyde-free wheatboard, an annually renewable product made from wheat straw. All veneers offered by the company are made of a soy protein-based resin that offers no off-gassing. Plus, all glues, adhesives, and finishes used are made with water-based low-VOC products. For more information, contact Neil Kelly Cabinets at 503-288-6345 or visit www.neilkellycabinets.com.