It used to be that affordable housing emphasized cheap construction above all else. Thanks to the problems this caused (unattractive buildings, costly maintenance, and high utility costs, among others) most developers do better now. One growing trend is that of green affordable housing, designed with an eye towards the long-term benefits. In a recent report from Global Green USA, Minnesota tied for fifth (with a grade of A-) in how well it encourages green practices in affordable housing. Global Green USA examined states’ criteria for distributing federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs). The ranking is based on how well those criteria incentivize eco-friendly development and how much green housing is actually built as a result. Subcategories included Smart Growth, Energy Efficiency, Resource Conservation, and Health Protection. The report also highlighted the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (the state body that awards LIHTCs to private, public, and nonprofit developers) for promoting green practices in existing housing rehabs.