Each year, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocates funding to the states for low income housing assistance. Desert Skies Energy works closely with the Arizona Department of Housing to provide mandatory energy services for Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) projects.

ADOH publishes the annual Qualified Allocation Program or QAP once per year– this document serves as the guidelines for the LIHTC program. The QAP provides exact instructions for any project owner seeking tax credits. Regardless of whether your project is seeking 4% or 9% tax credits, we are able to help guide you through the program specifically helping you satisfy the utility allowance schedule for tenant paid utilities as well as the energy modeling for ensuring the project meets the energy requirements.

Desert Skies Energy has been providing LIHTC services since 2014 with two core focuses:

  1. Satisfy and fulfill all ADOH requirements to help ensure project is awarded
  2. Deliver consulting advice on a per project basis to ensure long term success

For architects, the timing of LIHTC submittals is often chaotic due to the plans being so preliminary. Because of this, we work rapidly to turn around projects in less than 2 weeks– and in extreme cases we will work evenings and weekends to ensure your project is fulfilled prior to the ADOH deadline. This can require significant communication to ensure the project meets ADOH guidelines (HERS Score) and any owner requirements.

For new construction, we can perform our reviews from schematic plans. For rehab properties, we will need to visit the site to conduct a preliminary site assessment.

Consulting advice is incredibly important especially for architects and owners who are new to the LIHTC program. We are able to guide you through the submittal process as well as the testing and inspecting required throughout the project. With our involvement, we are able to help produce homes with low monthly utility bills — a huge win / win for owners and tenants alike.

Desert Skies Energy is a RESNET Sampling Provider making us an ideal candidate for large scale projects seeking tax credits.


Multifamily buildings may consider a sustainability or green certification for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons today are:

  1. HUD Financing Requirement
  2. Added Value and Quality Assurance

Desert Skies Energy has partnered with Home Innovation Research Labs to offer NGBS Certification (ICC 700) for multifamily buildings. We have chosen to offer this certification in lieu of others (e.g. LEED) due to the comprehensive nature of the program and the affordability of the program.

NGBS Certification requires a certified inspector to inspect 100% of multifamily units at rough for air sealing, insulation and duct sealing details. This lofty requirement has helped our team find significant building failures such as completely disconnected ducts and entire wall systems that were sheetrocked before insulation was installed. Our team is able to provide both the energy and sustainability inspections meaning that the process is more direct and streamlined.

Because of this level of inspections, ownership is typically drawn to this service. Costs are controlled because we are only performing visual inspections. Diagnostic testing (e.g. blower door, duct testing) is reserved only if the project is seeking advanced certification.

As an architect, creating a spec that meets NGBS criteria can be challenging. Even if your specifications do meet the intent of the program, there are often feasibility issues that arise once the inspection process begins. The issues that cause the most headaches are also typically the ones that occur the most frequently. It is highly advisable that you bring our team onto the project prior to the construction drawings being finalized.


  • Satisfy all lender and owner requirements
  • Enhanced quality assurance throughout construction
  • Increase property value + marketing edge for leasing

Regarding lending requirements, HUD offers Green MIP Reduction.  Their formula is simple:

Green Recognition + Energy Performance = MIP Reduction

‘Green Recognition’ is what Desert Skies Energy offers through our NGBS Certification.  

‘Energy Performance’ is an annual report of metered energy consumption and is only applicable after the building has been occupied for a full twelve months.  For more information on this, visit Energy Star Portfolio Manager or click below to download our brochure.


Multifamily architects are faced with ever-changing building codes that typically have local area amendments; this can create frustration and confusion.

The advantage to Desert Skies Energy is that we understand the building systems you’ve specified and how to best incorporate them into the energy model to navigate the local code. This means our calculations are accurate but we can also chat about potential options that might be a benefit to the builder.

A classic Phoenix example of this would be the removal of K-13 podium insulation. Builders are often huge advocates for value engineering this out for cost and aesthetic reasons. If we are brought into the process early enough, we are able to evaluate the design to see if removal is feasible. If it is, we must notify the mechanical designer so that they can adjust their load calculations. Failure to do so could cause problems with system sizing. The benefit here is financial and aesthetic.

If your project is more straightforward, Desert Skies Energy offers affordable and valuable design consulting to accompany our code compliance reports.

If you are looking for advanced energy audits beyond COMcheck, Desert Skies Energy has a partnership with Quest Energy in Tempe, AZ. Quest Energy provides detailed ASHRAE 90.1 models that can evaluate whole building features. This would allow your project to use high efficiency mechanical equipment or lighting systems to offset building envelope features. If your project can be better served by their firm, we can make the introduction for you.

If your project is more straightforward, Desert Skies Energy offers affordable and valuable design consulting to accompany our code compliance reports.


Often times, budget concerns or an opportunity to save on costs arise during construction. Builders typically approach our firm because we are able to clearly evaluate all aspects of the proposed solution. This could mean a change in windows, insulation or other building spec.

The best solutions are those where we are able to evaluate the change and sign off without any adjustment to the plans or energy code compliance reports. An example of this would be switching your window package to an equally or more efficient package.

Switching to a less efficient window package would be a more common example of post permit revisions. From an energy standpoint, we would evaluate the change with respect to the original energy model. If not available for some reason, we can recreate the energy model from scratch to evaluate compliance. However, we must also consult the mechanical designer to ensure their adjusted load calculations do not result in tonnage increases.

Post permit revisions can also evaluate insulation options including removal of insulation from suspended slab floor systems in podium construction.

Builders and architects should be prepared to all give feedback on proposed changes to evaluate implications for the design change beyond energy concerns.


Desert Skies Energy is able to provide industry insights from our real world experience back to the drawing table. We’ve seen the most typical problems that plague new construction projects occur, repeatedly, for years and have devised affordable specs and upgrades that combat these issues.

Our goal is to produce high quality housing for owners and tenants alike. Lower utility bills for tenants will increase the average length of occupancy for owners. The verified quality insulation install and duct sealing will reduce warranty complaints.

For architects, our consulting helps guide you through complex green building programs and code compliance reporting. Our holistic approach helps reduce RFIs during construction and keep the project moving smoothly. Because we work directly with ownership in many circumstances, we understand the important connection between owner and designer. Our mission is to be an asset to both parties.

Our most successful projects include our team early in the process. This allows us to understand the mission of the project and create a roadmap for success.


  • Green Certification & Selection of Specs
  • Statement of Energy Design (SEDI)
  • Energy Code Compliance Reports & Consulting
  • Best Practices & Industry Experience


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