June 5, 2020

Covid-19: Green Communities Releases Criteria Updates to Certification Program

On June 4, Enterprise Green Communities released updates to our certification program in light of Covid-19.  

2020 Criteria Addenda

Criterion 2.15b Access to Broadband: Connectivity is available for all project teams’ use. This criterion is part of a pair of standards within the 2020 Enterprise Green Communities Criteria designed to expand access to broadband. Criterion 2.15a Access to Broadband: Broadband Ready is required of all Rural/Tribal/Small Town projects, in order to reduce barriers to connectivity for residents. 

When drafting the 2020 Criteria, we considered how critical internet connectivity is to allow access to programs, telemedicine and job opportunities, and to narrow the digital divide between urban and rural communities. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated these needs and highlighted the benefits of promoting internet infrastructure in all areas of the country. Access to food, social connection, access to school and work – we’re relying on the internet to enable so many of our core needs.

We have adjusted the 2020 Criteria online, and our certification portal, to allow all teams pursuing the 2020 Criteria to achieve 6 points if they follow 2.15b and ensure that all dwelling unit and common amenity spaces in their properties have broadband internet service with at least a speed of 25 megabits per second for downloading and 3 megabits per second for uploading (25/3 Mbps).

Certification Submission Timeline

Beginning June 4, we are accepting Postbuild applications within one year of project completion, rather than within 60 days of project completion, to offer more time to teams that need it to do final inspections. Please follow all local guidelines and prioritize the safety of your teams and of your community members when considering when and how to make site visits. Our hope is that this extension of time for when Postbuild submissions are required will allow you to do that safely.

Visual Inspections and Performance Testing

Visual inspections conducted remotely by audio/video connection are allowed, rather than being conducted in-person on site, as long as RESNET’s Alternatives to HERS Ratings Field Inspections and Testing are followed. Should you chose to conduct any of your visual inspections remotely, documentation and disclosure must be conducted in accordance with RESNET’s Interim Remote Verification Protocol and project teams must indicate this approach when submitting their Postbuild certification application, so that we may note the approach. 

At this time, on-site diagnostic testing is still required; RESNET’s diagnostic testing defaults may not be used for the purposes of Enterprise Green Communities certification. We have reached out to all Green Communities certification projects which are rehabs of existing buildings and due to submit for Postbuild later this year, to explore need and potential avenues for an adjusted sampling approach.

Please continue to share your stories and feedback about how you’re doing, and how Covid-19 is affecting you and your work. If there’s something we can do to help you stay on track, let us know. Reach out to certification@enterprisecommunity.org with Covid-19 in the subject line so that we can prioritize these conversations. 

We hope you’re staying safe and healthy and discovering ways to find joy during these times.

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