Green Building Requirements for Preservation of Existing Housing

Green Building Requirements for Preservation of Existing Housing

Integrated Physical Needs Assessment

The determination of the preservation project’s ‘Scope of Services’ should be based on a physical or capital needs assessment (PNA or CNA) combined with an energy audit.  An Integrated Physical Needs Assessment (IPNA), has been created to incorporate essential components of both evaluations and coordinates the requirements of HCR, New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), as well as significant portions of data used for the NYSERDA’s incentive program for existing buildings.


The IPNA, along with required supporting documentation, must be included with the HCR financing application. 


The following are links to information about this assessment tool and the template for completing the IPNA:

Integrated Physical Needs Assessment Standard

Integrated Physical Needs Assessment Template


Applicants outside of NYC should utilize firms for the IPNA from the following NYSERDA Providers tool:


NYC applicants should utilize the teams from NYC HDC Pre-Qualified List:


Projects preserving affordable housing in existing buildings that do not require substantial rehabilitation or ‘gut renovation’ must adhere to criteria set forth in the latest NYS Energy Code, other more stringent local municipal codes, or minimum performance measures defined by these Green Guidelines. Projects may also choose to meet standards set by nationally recognized leaders in the sustainability and energy efficiency industry designed specifically for existing buildings. Applicants must certify to HCR that the preservation project has been designed to one of these nationally recognized energy conservation standards, NYSERDA programs or the HCR Moderate Rehabilitation criteria at a minimum.


Below is a list of standards for preservation projects:

NYSERDA Multifamily Performance Program for Existing Buildings (MPP)

Moderate rehabilitation of preservation projects are encouraged to use the MPP Comprehensive Option for Multifamily Affordable Buildings at the second tier level with a projected energy savings target of 31% or greater. Projects may also commit to the third tier of MPP with a projected energy savings target of 36% or greater. At a minimum, projects can reduce energy by 20% to comply with MPP standards. The applicant shall submit an executed contract with a MPP Multifamily Building Solutions Provider to reduce energy consumption in accordance with the selected level. The contract shall indicate the scope of work associated with the energy reduction objective.

National Standards for Energy Efficiency

Projects applying for financing of multifamily housing preservation projects can choose one energy efficiency standard from the same list as for new construction projects using strategies for existing buildings. All recommended practices applicable to the building systems used in a project’s design must be incorporated. The non-residential portions of a project shall incorporate comparable energy efficiency strategies as those used in the residential portion of the project to achieve similar energy savings.


Applicants must certify to HCR that the project has been designed in accordance with the standard selected and meets or exceeds the criteria set forth in the NYS Energy Code or other more stringent local municipal codes. Each standard specifies the qualifications for consultants to monitor project design for compliance with the applicable standard (see specific criteria listed in new construction section).  Applications should include an executed contract with qualified consultants for selected standard. Any request for waivers should provide documentation to justify variations from standards.


The five nationally recognized energy conservation standards are as follows:  

  • EPA Energy Star Programs – Existing Buildings
  • Enterprise Green Communities Criteria for Existing Buildings
  • Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) or Passive House Institute (PHI)
  • National Green Building Standard for Remodeling Projects
  • LEED for Existing Buildings

Moderate Rehabilitation of Existing Buildings or Historic Preservation Projects

If property cannot meet the standards listed above, at a minimum, applicants may: 1) Bring existing building(s) that do not meet the current energy code up to the energy code standards for comparable new construction building(s) in effect on the date the building permit is issued; or 2) Demonstrate that the renovated building(s) will reduce overall energy usage by 20%, as compared to average energy usage for the last two years of operation. 
Proposals for bringing a building to current energy code standards must include a code analysis submitted with the application that was prepared by an architect or engineer licensed in the State of New York.  Proposals for reducing energy usage by 20% may be demonstrated in the submission of the IPNA completed by a qualified professional firm.
Projects where energy program standards would be detrimental to National Parks Service (NPS) or NYS Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) mandates for historic preservation, and efficiency measures undermine the financial viability of preservation of an existing building may request a waiver of specific items.  There must be documentation of the specific items of standards and green guidelines that do not comply with requirements of NPS/SHPO, impact historic tax credits or undermine the overall feasibility of the project.