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Contact Green Building, Pacific Southwest

Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Tribal Green Building Codes: Resources for Sustainable Development Projects and Green Building Codes

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Federal Resources

Note:  All federal grant funding opportunities are online at Grants.gov

Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Indian Community Development Block Grant
Under the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 24, Section 1003.202 eligible activities  Exiting EPA (disclaimer) related to Tribal Green Building and Codes include:

  • Comprehensive Planning Comprehensive planning [can potentially include tribal building code planning/development] can be proposed as part of any otherwise eligible project.  Comprehensive planning is subject to the 20% limitation on the grant for planning and administration.
  • Community Based Development Organization (CBDO) Assistance Grantees may provide assistance to CBDOs to undertake activities related to neighborhood revitalization, community economic development, or energy conservation. [Could potentially include community green building/codes planning or charettes]
  • Code Enforcement – Code enforcement in deteriorating or deteriorated areas where such enforcement, together with public or private improvements, rehabilitation, or services to be provided, may be expected to arrest the decline of the area.
  • Rehabilitation services – Services such as rehabilitation counseling, energy auditing, preparation of work specifications, loan processing, inspections, and other services related to assisting owners, tenants, contractors, and other entities.
  • Energy Efficiency – Improvements to increase the efficient use of energy in structures.
  • Water Conservation – Improvements to increase the efficient use of water through such means as water saving faucets and shower heads and repair of water leaks
  • Lead Based Paint Abatement and Evaluation – Lead based paint abatement and evaluation can be proposed under a housing rehabilitation project. 
  • Renovation of closed buildings –such as closed school buildings, for use as an eligible public facility or to rehabilitate such buildings for housing

Indian Housing Block Grant

Eligible activities include:

  • Planning and Administration
  • Housing development
  • Assistance to housing developed under the Indian Housing Program
  • Housing services to eligible families and individuals
  • Housing management services including inspections
  • Crime prevention and safety
  • Model activities [potentially tribal green and affordable building codes] that provide creative approaches to solving affordable housing problems
  • The cost of comprehensive housing and community development planning is an eligible planning and administrative cost and could potentially include building code work.

Spokane Tribe of Washington

The Spokane Tribe in Washington will use its Sustainable Communities Challenge Grant funds to develop a Sustainable Community Master Plan. The Plan will identify areas for development of new affordable, energy-efficient housing in areas that will not require expansion of infrastructure and will avoid concentrations of low-income housing.

Office of Native American Programs (ONAP)

Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities Grants
Tribal recipients working on community planning/codes include: the Spokane Tribe, the Hopi Tribe, the Pueblo de Cochiti Housing Authority, and the Oglala Lakota. 

U.S. Department of Energy - Building Energy Codes Program

USDA Rural Development

Indian Health Service

Bureau of Indian Affairs

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Indian General Assistance Program (GAP)
Can be used to fund training and assistance associated with green and healthy building as well as sustainable building code development, and the development of inspections and enforcement programs under provisions for building legal and administrative capacity.
Encouraging radon resistant construction is explicitly covered.

Tribal Portal

EPA has developed a Sustainable Design Toolkit for Local Governments (PDF) (92 pp, 15M) that may help tribes identify priorities and related resources.

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Organizations Supporting Tribes and Tribal Issues

The Hopi Tribe Logo

The Hopi Tribe is planning the development of the Tawa'ovi Community on the Hopi Reservation. The tribe will use the funds to develop planning and zoning codes and economic development feasibility studies for the proposed community. This approach will lead the way for a sustainable community of up to 1,500 people with the necessary community services and jobs to sustain its residents over the next 10 years.

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First Nations (Alberta) Technical Services Advisory Group

First Nations Development Institute

First Nations National Building Officers Association

Intertribal Council On Utility Policy (ICOUP)

National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)

Native American Rights Fund

National Indian Law Library

National Indian Law Library Catalog

National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC) NAIHC is a national organization representing housing interests of tribes and housing entities across the United States.

Native Learning Center

Regional Indian Housing Associations

Rural Information Center This Rural Information Center provides information about State, federal and nonprofit programs that assist Native Americans needing housing or loans.

Sustainable Nations Development Project

Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative

Tribal Law and Policy Institute - Tribal Legal Code Project: Tribal Building Codes

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Building Code and Building Design Resources

Pueblo de Cochiti, New Mexico Tribal Logo

The Pueblo de Cochiti Housing Authority in New Mexico will be plan the Cochiti Plaza Revitalization Project. The project is a unique undertaking of the Pueblo to revitalize their community by re-examining the historic settlement patterns at the heart of the Pueblo, the “Plaza.” The Plaza is the center point for all traditional and cultural activities that occur throughout the year, and this project aims to maintain and strengthen ties to the traditions, culture, and language of the Cochiti people. Through this effort, the Tribe will address substantial and long-term needs and obstacles for promoting local employment, affordable housing, cultural sustainability, and improved transportation systems.

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Development Center for Appropriate Technology works on sustainability and appropriate technology in relation to the built environment, building codes, standards, public policy.

Ecological Building Network promotes intelligent design, clean energy, and healthy building materials. 

Oasis Design provides guidance about rainwater harvesting, gray water systems, deeper green and integrated approaches to sustainability.

Building Codes Assistance Project's Online Code Environment and Advocacy Network (BCAP OCEAN) provides a collection of useful information about energy efficiency and renewable energy as well as green building code and code resources.

The New Buildings Institute assesses technologies, promotes design approaches, and helps guide policies and programs that will significantly improve the energy efficiency of buildings.

Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center provides an online archive of green building codes and standards.

Columbia Law School – Center for Climate Change Law Model Ordinances is a project to create best practices for municipal ordinances covering green buildings, wind and solar resources.

Codes and Hannover Principles - The Hannover Principles are intended as a living document committed to transformation and growth in the understanding of human’s interdependence with nature.

State Building Code Associations

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Material, Product, Environmental Assessment Tools and Systems

Pueblo de Cochiti, New Mexico Tribal Logo

Oglala Lakota of Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota working with a consortium of community organizations, nonprofits, and Oglala Lakota tribes led by the Thunder Valley Community Development
Organization is implementing a two-year sustainable development plan. To encourage grassroots development and community empowerment, the grant was awarded to a diverse alliance of stakeholders in addition to local government, thus involving all facets of the local Lakota community. The plan seeks to integrate housing, land use, economic development, transportation, and infrastructure across a wide southeastern swath of South Dakota in order to tackle the interlinked challenges of sustainability.

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The Pharos Project connects you to a network of building professionals and manufacturers committed to transparency as a core value on the path to sustainability. Pharos is not a certification or label, it is information: the critical health and environmental data about the manufacture, use, and end of life of building materials specified and used every day all delivered in an easy to use web based tool.

The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) was founded in 2001 with the mission of improving human health and quality of life by enhancing indoor air quality and reducing people’s exposure to chemicals and other pollutants.

UL Environment
UL Environment helps support the growth and development of sustainable products, services and organizations in the global marketplace through standards development, educational services, and independent third party assessment and certification.

ICC Green Evaluation Service
The ICC-ES Sustainable Attributes Verification and Evaluation™ (SAVE™) Program provides manufacturers with verification that their products meet specific sustainability targets defined by today’s codes, standards, or green rating systems.

Athena Sustainable Materials Institute
The Athena Institute develops science-based, credible, objective life cycle assessment data and software to support informed decision-making related to the environmental impact of construction. Athena provides a free version of the ATHENA® EcoCalculator software for both commercial and residential construction.

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Additional Resources and References

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2010/2011 HUD Native Housing Needs Outreach Sessions

Center for Housing Policy 

GAO Native American Housing, Tribes Generally View Block Grant Program as Effective, but Tracking of Infrastructure Plans and Investments Needs Improvement (PDF)

Database of federal and state incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy

Green Affordable Housing Policy Toolkit, Enterprise Green Communities (PDF)

Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act

Rural Housing Assistance Council

Affordable Green Building in Rural Communities (PDF)

Building Affordable ENERGY STAR® Qualified Homes (PDF)

U.S. EPA Tribal Green Building Codes Workgroup

Building and Buying Green in Indian Country: A Practical Guide for California Tribes (157 pp, 8.7MB)  This comprehensive guide provides tribal project decision-makers and planners with an overview of "green" building practices to help them evaluate and choose sustainable options as they develop projects with architects, contractors, suppliers, or other building professionals.

Giving Form to Traditional Values: Design Principles for Indian Housing, (PDF) (46pp, 1.7MB)
The purpose of this guidebook is to assist architects and designers who are contracted by Indian Housing Authorities to understand how to incorporate traditional Native American cultural and spiritual elements of life into housing forms, and to understand the importance of including the homeowner in the decision making process.

Buildings of the Land: Energy Efficiency Design Guide for Indian Housing (PDF) (97pp, 3MB)
This guide is a product of the Department of Energy and Department of Housing and Urban Development Initiative on Energy Efficiency in Housing.

Road Design for Indian Housing, PDF (60pp, 1.8MB)
This guidebook provides a reference for Indian Housing Authority directors and tribal members to use when organizing, managing and administering a successful road development program.

Southwest Housing Traditions: Design Materials Performance
This book is about design and construction, materials and culture, human habitation and intentions. It considers the lessons which traditional architecture holds for today’s designers and builders, and explores to what extent traditional designs and materials are relevant to creating higher quality affordable housing for low and moderate income families in the border region. It discusses the advantages and limitations of each traditional material or element, and quantifies its performance through engineering modeling.

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