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Educational materials and orientations help educate residents and staff on features that were designed to deliver health, economic, and environmental benefits, as well as their role in realizing those benefits in their own lives.


NYC Overlay: 

Note Current Facility Requirements (CFR) also may fit this criterion, and, building operators may be eligible for a free 30-hour Building Operator Training offered through CUNY’s Building Performance Lab or 32BJ training fund. 

Include the following guidance for waste in the manual:
Containerize waste containing food to the extent possible to limit rodent access. Organic waste for collection shall be in a container with a latching lid. Do not set out material in bags in tree pits and clean curb daily after set out.


Mandatory for All Multifamily Projects

Building Operations & Maintenance Manual and Plan


Regular building Operations & Maintenance (O&M) practices using green methods minimize building maintenance needs and utility consumption, and provide a healthy, safe, and durable living environment for residents. Developing a building O&M manual and complementary plan throughout the project design, development, and construction stages allows the project team to properly customize these documents with the input of project installers.


Develop a manual with thorough building O&M guidance and a complementary accountability plan. The manual and plan should be developed over the course of the project design, development, and construction stages so that knowledge can be transferred from this stage of the project life cycle to the operations and asset management stage. At minimum, the manual and plan shall address the following topics:

  • O&M guidance for all mechanical and electrical equipment and appliances (building level and dwelling unit level)

  • HVAC specifications, and O&M schedules

  • Refrigerant management

  • Operations, maintenance, and replacement guidance for any other specialized systems (e.g., solar photovoltaics, solar water heating, ground source heating, cogen) within the project along with evidence of training completed for these systems

  • Location of mechanical, electrical, gas, and water-system turnoffs

  • Lighting equipment specifications and replacement guidance

  • Landscaping and hardscaping specifications and maintenance plan, including any specific instructions for community gardens or growing spaces

  • Green cleaning product specifications and cleaning schedules

  • Integrated pest management protocol

  • Maintenance of active recreation and play spaces (e.g., playgrounds, ground markings, exercise equipment)
  • If the project is a multifamily building with either a cooling tower or a centralized hot water system, or is more than 10 stories in height, also include the Legionella water management plan developed via Criterion 4.3.

  • Protocol for reviewing and responding to utility data consumption information

  • An occupancy turnover plan that describes the dwelling unit turnover protocol, including all materials that are frequently replaced at turnover


Begin creating a thorough and well-developed O&M manual and plan well before construction completion. Work with designers, systems installers, and operations staff to assemble critical information and schedules for best-practice operations and maintenance strategies.

Prior to and during construction:

During the design process, keep a running list of how maintenance and landscaping teams and residents may need to be involved with the building in order to ensure that it will perform as intended. Once the project team has completed the integrative design process (see Category 1), amend templates of O&M documents with project-specific information for maintenance staff and residents. By working in this manner, the building O&M manual and plan will be informed by the development process and completed by the time the project is ready for occupancy.

  • Identify the senior management position(s) with oversight responsibility for O&M and the job roles responsible for producing, managing, and/or implementing the manual and plan.

  • Ensure that the building performance goals/requirements that were established for the project during integrative design will be included in the O&M manual and plan.

  • Create a knowledge-transfer plan to ensure that accurate as-built information is captured during construction, startup, and commissioning, and integrated into the O&M manual and plan (e.g., if possible, create a video of the commissioning agent or system installer showing key maintenance checks to use when training staff).

  • Discuss your building O&M training plan to ensure that responsible staff will be up to speed on the operation of the building prior to turnover and occupancy.

  • Develop a succession plan to ensure that important information is retained from departing staff and transferred to new staff. This could include an exit interview checklist, maintenance log review, etc.

As construction nears completion and into operations:

Finalize your building O&M manual and plan. Clearly identify key operations and maintenance activities, assign those activities to a person/job role, and establish a schedule to verify that maintenance is performed.

To enhance your O&M manual and plan, include:

  • Account information on your energy and water performance tracking software. Identify who

    will monitor this account and at what interval, and what procedures will take place if irregularities are discovered.

  • HVAC maintenance plans. Develop a maintenance schedule for HVAC systems, and include assignments of key tasks to specific job roles. Create a system to track when/what maintenance tasks were completed.

  • Information on lighting equipment, including specs for replacement bulbs and a maintenance strategy for when to replace inaccessible fixtures (e.g., what percentage of bulbs/diodes can fail in any one lamp pylon before you install replacements).

  • Location of mechanical, electrical, gas, and water-system turnoffs.

  • Irrigation system maintenance plans. Develop a periodic visual inspection of functions (since irrigation systems are often scheduled to operate when O&M staff are off duty).

  • Landscaping and hardscapes (paved surfaces) review protocols. Develop an inspection schedule of landscaping and paving, and assign key tasks to specific job roles.

  • Green cleaning products and cleaning schedules. Specify products, vendors, schedule, and assignments of key tasks to specific job roles. Create a system to track when actions are completed.

  • A written Integrated Pest Management policy (see Category 7) aimed at preventing pests and addressing conditions conducive to pests. Repair and maintain structures and grounds to minimize pest-related conditions. Develop resident guidelines related to pesticide use, housekeeping, and prompt reporting of pest problems, such as cockroaches, rodents, and bed bugs. Ensure that anyone applying pesticides is licensed and working under a scope that includes IPM provisions.

  • If the project is utilizing recycled water (greywater), design and institute a policy that requires biodegradable soaps, cleaners, and other products if they are going to be flushed down the drains.

  • Video-record installers of mechanical systems explaining best practices for regular maintenance and strategies to address common system problems. Use this video as part of your maintenance staff training.

  • Provide maintenance staff with local information for handling hazardous waste, including where to recycle fluorescent and compact fluorescent lighting (CFLs).


  • University of Minnesota. For language on residential IPM policy, the University offers the following resource.


NYC Overlay: 

In addition to the four items below, projects are REQUIRED to include the location of backup power and broadband (if any) within the property and how to locate outside emergency resources.  Including the following links is recommended:  

These resources may be helpful: Ready New York, NYC Severe Weather resources for property owners, NYC Emergency Management Community Emergency Response Team


Mandatory for all multifamily projects

Emergency Management Manual


In the event of an emergency, time is of the essence. Creating and socializing a plan for building managers and residents before an emergency occurs increases the likelihood that disturbances due to the emergency (whether it be flooding, earthquake, power outages, or another disturbance) can be appropriately mitigated.


Provide a manual on emergency operations targeted toward O&M staff and other building-level personnel. The manual should address responses to various types of emergencies, leading with those that have the greatest probability of negatively affecting the project. The manual should provide guidance as to how to sustain the delivery of adequate housing throughout an emergency and cover a range of topics including but not limited to:

  • communication plans for staff and residents to use in the event of an emergency

  • useful contact information for public utility and other service providers

  • infrastructure and building “shutdown” procedures

  • plan for regular testing of backup energy systems, if these exist

Emergency Management Manuals should be responsive to information generated from successful completion of Category 1 and, if selected, Criterion 4.7, Criterion 5.8, Criterion 5.9, and Criterion 5.10.

This information should be readily available to all building residents, staff, and visitors.


  • Emergency Maintenance Manuals should be updated annually (at a minimum) in both digital and hard-copy formats, and located in a well-marked location.

  • Plan for people with disabilities and/or mental, physical, sensory, and cognitive needs in the Emergency Management Manual. Special populations of concern are users of electrically powered life-sustaining equipment. If utility costs are covered in rent, building owners can communicate to the utility provider that a person in the household uses such equipment. For buildings in which tenants directly pay for utilities, encourage registration with the utility provider for households

    in which users of such equipment reside. Registration allows for utilities to notify users of power outages, as well as to potentially conduct check-ins during a power outage.

  • Reviewing and updating all Emergency Maintenance Manuals should be built into the job description and performance requirements of staff members.

  • Host trainings and/or drills to test emergency plans and test communication and coordination across staff and residents.

  • Consider having at least 1 staff member for every 50 residents + staff trained in first aid, CPR, and the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs), and include information about these resources within the Emergency Management Manual.

  • Consider including multiple types of contact information for building managers and other staff in the communication plan and sharing with residents (e.g., cell phone, email).

  • Consider utilizing a phone app to contact tenants, provide information and reminders to charge devices, find emergency power and charging locations.


  • “Ready” is a public service campaign designed to education and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies, including natural and man-made disasters. The goal of the campaign is to get the public involved and ultimately to increase the level of basic preparedness across the nation.

  • Seattle Office of Emergency Management provides many valuable resources, including a Resident Disaster Recovery Booklet translated into several languages.

NYC Overlay: 

In addition to the requirements listed in the Manual, projects are REQUIRED to include information about accessibility and emergency features available to tenants (i.e. grab bars, kitchen adaptations or pull cord system).  Manuals must also include guidance that tenants living in dwelling units without children may request that window limiters be removed as part of the annual window guard notice.  And, include the location of backup power and broadband (if any) within the property and how to locate outside emergency resources.   

The following resources will likely be helpful:



Resident Manual


Materials that share information on the features of the building will better enable residents to fully realize the environmental, health, and economic investments that have been made to the property.


Provide a guide for homeowners and renters that explains the intent, benefits, use, and maintenance of their home’s green features and practices. The Resident Manual should encourage green and healthy activities.

A range of topics should be discussed. Those topics shall include, but are not limited to:

  • a description of the Green Communities criteria included in the project
  • a routine maintenance plan, outlining responsibilities of residents and maintenance staff with contact information for residents to use for maintenance issues, as applicable

  • HVAC operation

  • green cleaning guidelines

  • smoke-free policy

  • location of electrical, mechanical, gas, and water turnoffs

  • recycling and waste management

  • integrated pest management protocols

  • interior Active Design features

  • information on community connectivity amenities, including transportation, car-share, bike-share, and other accessibility features

  • community garden and other fresh food resources

  • energy and water consumption information

  • if applicable, procedures to contact building management in the case of a building-related problem

  • any other systems that are part of the home


  • When developing your Resident Manual and engagement information, include graphics, images, videos, and social media information to make your material more engaging, and in turn more useful.

  • During the design process, keep a running list of how maintenance and landscaping teams and residents may need to be involved with the building in order to ensure that it will perform as intended. Once the project team has completed the integrative design process (see Category 1), amend templates of the O&M documents and Resident Manual with project-specific information. By working in this manner, these documents will be informed by the development process and completed by the time the project is ready for occupancy.

  • Develop an Integrated Pest Management policy and, as part of that, develop resident guidance related to pesticide use, housekeeping and prompt reporting of pest problems with cockroaches, rodents, and bed bugs. Ensure that anyone applying pesticides is licensed and working under a scope that includes IPM provisions.

  • Provide residents with information about local transportation options by including maps, public transit schedules, car- and bike-share programs, and the building’s bicycle amenities.

  • Provide residents with maps of neighborhood locations for physical activity and healthy food amenities, including farmers markets, community gardens, walking trails, parks, playgrounds, and exercise facilities.

  • Amplify the impact of residents having access to fresh food (through gardening spaces or other means) by hosting cooking classes so that they can learn how to use their produce to make healthy meals.

  • Consider labeling trash, recycling and composting receptacles throughout the building. “Trash” can becomes “landfill” can and is made visually distinct from recycling containers through the use of consistent colors. Also provide examples and instructions for what materials are recyclable, and for composting, when available.

  • Provide residents with local information for handling household hazardous waste, including compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs).

  • Provide residents with the building’s smoke-free policy during orientation.

  • If the project is utilizing greywater, design and institute a policy that requires biodegradable soaps, cleaners, and any other product types that are going to be flushed down the drains.

  • Consider bulk purchase of non-toxic cleaning materials for residents to purchase at a discount.





Walk-Throughs and Orientations to Property Operation


An orientation to the building and community helps educate residents, property manager(s), and building operations staff about the green features that were designed to deliver health, economic, and environmental benefits, as well as their role in realizing those benefits in their own lives and the lives of future residents. Without an orientation to the information included in the guides created through Criteria 8.1 – 8.3, that valuable information may not be put to use, and the project’s long-term goals may not be met.


Provide a comprehensive walk-through and orientation for all residents and for all property manager(s) and buildings operations staff. Orient new residents to the property’s green features before move-in, or within 90 days of move-in. Orient all property managers and building operations staff within 90 days of initial occupancy on building maintenance and unit turnover procedures. For staff joining after the initial orientation, provide walk-through and orientation to green features within their first 90 days. For all orientations and walk-throughs, share the list of Green Communities criteria that were implemented in the project and use the appropriate manuals (see Criteria 8.1–8.3) as the base of the curriculum. Review the project’s green features, O&M procedures, and emergency protocols.

For home-ownership properties, walk-throughs and orientations should take place at sale.


  • During Property Management and Resident Services staff trainings, focus on how the features of the building function and are maintained, and how those features help the residents: providing comfort, protecting health, saving money, conserving resources, and being better stewards of the environment. It is important for all staff to understand how the building and systems were designed to operate so that issues can be identified and addressed promptly.

  • Resident orientations should focus on engaging occupants in the process of both creating and maintaining a green and healthy environment as well as increasing resident awareness of on-site and nearby physical activity and healthy food amenities. Engagement orientations should be tailored to residents and their needs (e.g., families, older adults) and educate residents on how to operate key features and building resources (e.g., recycling, thermostats, fans, lighting) and explain why certain building elements/features/materials were selected (e.g., less carpet in favor of smooth flooring improves indoor air quality). This thorough resident orientation will lead to collective improved outcomes, such as how resident behavior affects energy, water, and materials use, as well as health outcomes. The orientation should also stress the important role that tenants play in reporting building-related problems so that issues can be addressed in a timely fashion.

  • Consider providing residents with a green, healthy living packet, including green cleaning materials, healthy recipes, recycling information, and important contact information in case of any problems.

  • Engage residents at regular intervals (e.g., move-in, 3 months, 1 year, then annually) that coincide with existing tenant engagement to check in on behaviors and the potential need for assistance.

  • Provide residents with local information for handling household hazardous waste, including compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs).

  • Educate residents and staff on building protocols for what to do in the case of an evacuation or shelter-in-place scenario. Consider providing key staff and key residents with additional training and “go-bags” so that they can help residents during an emergency.


NYC Overlay: 

HPD’s Benchmarking Protocol (which all HPD-financed projects must follow for the duration of the regulatory term) satisfies compliance with this criterion if projects also grant Enterprise view access to the data.


Mandatory, except for detached single-family buildings

Energy and Water Data Collection and Monitoring


A utility data-collection and monitoring system allows project owners, on-site staff, and residents to understand project performance and accurately determine the cost-benefit of energy efficiency improvements. This information may be used to influence future retrofit and repair work, as well as to identify day-to-day performance issues as they arise. If an issue is identified, appropriate actions can be taken to maximize project durability, cost savings, and health benefits associated with the goals of the project.


Collect and report project energy and water performance data.

For rental properties, report all consumption and cost data for all energy and water utilities for the residential components of the project. In alignment with HUD’s Multifamily Benchmarking Toolkit, one of four methods may be used for compliance:

Method A: Properties with Only Owner-Paid Utility Bills

The property owner pays for 100% of the property’s utility bills and uses these bills as the source for tracking whole-property utility data.

Method B: Aggregated, Whole-Property Utility Data

Regardless of the split of owner-paid and tenant-paid utility bills across the property, the property owner requests aggregated whole-property utility data from the utility provider(s).

Method C: Collection of 100% of Tenant-Paid Utility Data

The property owner collects 100% of the individual tenant-paid utility data from the utility provider(s) or tenants and tracks these along with owner-paid accounts.

Method D: Collection of a Sample of Tenant-Paid Utility Data

The property owner collects a sample of individual tenant-paid utility data from the utility provider(s) or tenants, which is then used to produce an estimate of whole-property utility data along with the owner-paid accounts. Project teams may either use the Better Buildings Challenge sampling protocol, found in Appendix C of the Better Buildings Challenge Data Manual, or HUD’s Assisted Housing Utility Allowance Calculations sampling protocol, found in Part VI of HUD Notice H-2015-04, to extrapolate the whole building data from the sample set. Note, when sampled tenant-paid utility data is used to estimate whole-property data, the “Estimation” box must be checked when submitting the data in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.

Regardless of the method chosen above, this data must be uploaded and tracked in an online utility benchmarking platform annually, for at least 5 years from time of construction completion, and view access shall be granted to Enterprise for that time period.

For owner-occupied units, residents shall collect and monitor their energy and water performance data in a manner that allows for easy access and review, and that provides the ability to influence home operations for at least 5 years from time of first occupancy. Also allow Enterprise access to this data.


  • Make resident utility access release(s) an opt-out, rather than an opt-in, component of lease-up to provide property management with access to utility data for benchmarking/tracking. This data will allow maintenance staff to proactively identify poorly performing systems and identify other comfort issues that often go unreported, leading to major systems failure.
  • Ensure that the training for residents and building maintenance staff includes information on how to effectively use the data-collection, monitoring, and reporting system. Engage residents whenever possible in utility reduction campaigns.

  • Carefully consider metering and/or utility monitoring configuration of your building to not just meet your needs for utility billing, but also for diagnostics of future potential energy issues. Providing information to residents on the cost and usage associated with the electricity consumption in their unit may reduce energy use. Owners being cognizant of the disaggregated dominant sources of energy consumption can use a proactive operations and maintenance approach, addressing outlier conditions in real-time. The metering and monitoring systems should be specified in the Integrative Design stage, tracked through O&M procedures, and shared with residents and staff.


  • ENERGYSTAR, Portfolio Manager, Quick Reference Guide for Multifamily Housing. Portfolio Manager is a free, online, interactive energy management tool that allows you to measure and track your building’s energy and water consumption, identify investment priorities, and verify improvements over time. Multifamily housing communities can use it to track weather-normalized energy use intensity, energy costs, greenhouse gas emissions, and water consumption.


“I haven’t been placed here to live; I’ve been placed here to succeed.”
Resident of Enterprise Green Communities property