Photo collage of various sustainable HCR buildings

Sustainability Guidelines

Overview

HCR is working to put current and future affordable housing projects on the path to meeting New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (“Climate Act”), which mandates at least a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and at least 85% reduction by 2050, compared to New York State’s 1990 carbon emission levels.

For buildings, this will mean dramatically improving building efficiency by enhancing the building envelope performance and removing or significantly reducing onsite carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning appliances.

HCR developed these Sustainability Guidelines as a step towards meeting the State’s climate goals. HCR’s Sustainability Guidelines are designed to produce high quality housing across the State of New York to provide low-income tenants with improved health, safety, and well-being.

Climate Goals Yearly

New Construction Guidelines

HCR has set out on a path to meeting New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act ("Climate Act”), which mandates at least an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, compared to New York State’s 1990 carbon emission levels. For buildings, this will mean dramatically improving efficiency by increasing the performance of building envelopes and hot water consuming appliances/fixtures and replacing fossil fuel combusting equipment with efficient electric solutions.

Electrification of heating and hot water systems in nearly all buildings is a key strategy for building decarbonization and depends upon energy efficiency improvements in all buildings and 100% zero emissions electricity.

HCR has developed a new set of Sustainability guidelines for all New Construction projects.  The criteria for these Guidelines have been developed to ensure minimum standards of quality, function and durability of projects funded by the Housing Finance Agency and the Housing Trust Fund Corporation. 

Existing Building Guidelines

HCR has developed a set of Sustainability Guidelines for all existing building construction projects. Existing building construction projects are defined as adaptive reuse, substantial rehabilitation, and moderate rehabilitation. The criteria for these Guidelines have been developed to ensure minimum standards of quality, function and durability of projects funded by the Housing Finance Agency and the Housing Trust Fund Corp. The Sustainability Guidelines are broken into three sections:

Core Sustainability Requirements: Outlines the core project requirements and eligible third-party certification programs that must be met by all projects. Requirements vary based on the type of existing building project being pursued.

Building Performance Requirements: Outlines the efficiency and technical requirements for all major building systems and applies to existing building projects based on the project’s scope of work.

Additional Sustainability Requirements: Outlines additional sustainability requirements outside of the major building systems, for example, including indoor environmental quality practices, resiliency and solar. All existing building projects must at minimum comply with the baseline requirements listed for their project type.

Projects are required to achieve the baseline standards listed in each of these three sections. However, projects are encouraged to explore the feasibility of the stretch goals, as they set the precedent for future baseline standards.

Preservation Sustainability Guidelines

The Preservation Sustainability Guidebook: For Operations Repairs and Renovations should be used as a performance and sustainability guide tool for any property under regulation with HFA, HTFC, Mitchell Lama, or any other HCR issued program that is looking to utilize replacement reserves or make a capital investments to the property. The Guidebook is applicable only to intended improvement areas a property is actively looking to make at the time of review. This tool should help property owners and operators consider the full useful life of existing equipment, evaluate whether a repair or replacement is appropriate, and consider interaction and synergies between buildings systems and the State's goal to improve indoor air quality and reduce onsite carbon emissions.

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.

 

Projects completing an IPNA on August 2023 or later must follow the latest version of the IPNA Standard and Tool on the NYSERDA website (linked below).

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 Tool

 

Applicants should utilize the teams from IPNA Pre-Qualified List.

Questions and Answers

Design Waiver Request Form

“All waivers that are requested from the design and/or sustainability requirements set forth by the Agency shall be submitted to the HCR Design, Construction and Environmental Unit (DC&E) or the HCR Sustainability Team for review. Requests to waive a requirement will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the Vice President of DC&E, the Vice President of Sustainability and/or the respective DC&E Unit Director. Other offices of the Agency and the Vice President of Multifamily Finance will be consulted when necessary. Evaluations of waiver requests will include the determinations of the appropriateness of the proposed alternative with emphasis on:

• Alignment with the HCR Sustainability Standards Roadmap

• Impacts on operating costs/efficiency

• Impact to the residents

• Cost-effectiveness

• Functional appropriateness

• Durability and operating appropriateness
 

All waiver requests must be submitted via the Design Waiver Request Form and must be received 30 calendar days prior to each required submission.

Training Videos

5/4/2022 - Training 1 of 4: HCR Overview of the New Sustainability Guidelines

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VIDEO: HCR Overview of the New Sustainability Guidelines

 

5/11/2022 - Training 2 of 4: HCR Sustainability Guidelines: New Construction Booklet Briefing   

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VIDEO: HCR Sustainability Guidelines: New Construction Booklet Briefing 

 

5/18/2022 - Training 3 of 4: HCR Sustainability Guidelines: Existing Buildings Booklet Briefing   

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VIDEO: HCR Sustainability Guidelines New Construction Booklet Briefing

10/11/2023 - October 2023: HCR Sustainability Updates

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October 2023: HCR Sustainability Updates

 

Technical Resources

Example Maintenance Checklists

The following operations and maintenance resources are examples of possible maintenance and corrective actions for heat pump equipment. This information should not be considered an exhaustive list of problems, causes, or solutions, but should instead be referred to as guidance. Please refer to the manufacturer for comprehensive and product-specific maintenance requirements, recommendations, and solutions. Maintenance and corrective actions must only be conducted by qualified operators and technicians under the permission of building management and ownership. HCR does not represent that the actions provided in these examples guarantee proper operation or correction of problems.