Certification Eligibility & Requirements


Green Communities Certification is available for all buildings that contain affordable housing units. Enterprise defines affordable housing as projects serving residents at or below 60 percent AMI for rental projects and at or below 80 percent AMI for for-sale projects.

Stand-alone single-family and multifamily buildings, and groups of single-family or multifamily buildings can pursue Enterprise Green Communities Certification.

Programmatic Requirements

All projects seeking Green Communities Certification must meet mandatory criteria. New construction projects must achieve at least 40 optional points. Substantial and Moderate Rehab projects must achieve at least 35 optional points.

Enterprise Green Communities Certification is a two - phase process housed within the Green Communities Certification portal. All PreBuild and PostBuild applications will be reviewed in no more than 30 days by Enterprise. After the review period, project teams will either receive a notice that additional information is needed for their application to be approved, or that their application was successful. Note: if additional information is requested and the project team subsequently resubmits their PreBuild or PostBuild application, these will re-enter the review queue, which may take up to 30 days.

Prebuild applications are due at least 30 days before start of construction:

  1. Provide project information.
  2. Document how the project will meet the appropriate mandatory and optional criteria.
  3. Upload the required Supplemental Documents.

Postbuild applications are due within 60 days of construction completion:

  1. Confirm/update project information.
  2. Document how the project met the appropriate mandatory and optional criteria.
  3. Upload the required Supplemental Documents.

Levels of Certification

The 2020 criteria offer two levels of certification.

  • Enterprise Green Communities Certification demonstrates a holistic approach to green affordable housing.
  • Enterprise Green Communities Certification Plus recognizes developments making the greatest strides on the Path to Zero Energy 

Certified projects are awarded with a Green Communities Certification plaque.

Certification Fees

Projects certifying to the 2020 Criteria will incur a fee of $1,250 at the time of Prebuild application and $300 at the time of Postbuild application. Fees will be collected online through the Green Communities Certification portal at the time that an application is submitted.

Projects with a total construction cost of $500,000 or less or construction cost of $20,000 per unit or less may request that certification fees be waived. Such requests should be submitted via email to certification@enterprisegreencommunities.org and will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

Waiver Request Process

Projects encountering circumstances that prevent compliance with a mandatory criterion may submit a waiver request to follow an alternate strategy that meets the intent of the criterion. In certain instances, projects may seek approval to omit a certain criterion requirement altogether.

Waiver Request Submission, Evaluation and Approval

All waiver requests must be submitted in the online portal and may be submitted at anytime during the certification process before a project earns certification.

Project teams will receive a response to their submitted request within five business days. Responses may include notice of waiver approval, request additional information, or decline the request. Depending on the nature of the request, resolution of a waiver may delay the Prebuild or Postbuild approval process.

All waiver requests must demonstrate consideration of potential impacts of the waiver on project stakeholders (residents, property managers, community members, developers, property owners, project team, other), surrounding neighborhood, and climate and environmental vulnerabilities.

Requests are evaluated based on clear documentation of consequential and insurmountable circumstances preventing compliance, the appropriateness of the alternate strategy proposed and how it fulfills the intent of the criterion for which the waiver is requested, (if applicable) and demonstrated consideration for how stakeholder and environmental impacts will be addressed.  

A waiver request approval for one project does not guarantee approval for the same request on another project.

Projects that achieve Certification following the 2020 Green Communities Criteria will receive a final Certification Approval letter itemizing the mandatory criteria for which waivers were approved.

2020 Criteria Waivers for 2015 Projects

Project teams able to demonstrate compliance with the 2020 version of a mandatory 2015 criterion may be relieved of the 2015 requirement. Such requests should be submitted per standard protocol and will be automatically approved.

Verification Protocol

A verification protocol is designed to bring the benefits of third-party on-site assessment and performance testing to developments seeking Certification. Any project team submitting a request for certification to Enterprise may be subject to on-site verification by a third-party provider. Enterprise Green Communities will notify the project team if the project is randomly selected for verification. Green Communities will then direct a consultant to conduct the verification, monitor the consultant for quality assurance, and cover the costs to complete the verification.

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