Project Financing

Orchard Gardens cost $4,818,231 to build. The total project cost of $6,779,148 included land acquisition costs of $373,000, design fees of $406,409 and miscellaneous expenditures for fees, permitting, feasibility studies, insurance, and interest. Solar panels cost an additional $100,000 and were paid for by private funding.

HomeWORD says that integrating green and sustainable features into housing construction is not yet common in the state of Montana, which made funding challenging. Without support from national foundations such as the Home Depot Foundation, the Enterprise Foundation, and an anonymous donor, homeWORD simply would not have been able to incorporate green features.

Driven by its mission to build models for affordable housing and the construction industry, homeWORD asks its staff to seek additional funding and find new sources of support from both private and community foundations. One unique aspect of the project is that an anonymous donor found its own goals and values closely matched those of the project and therefore contributed over half a million dollars to support the green features of Orchards Gardens.

The green features integrated into Orchard Gardens did result in costs over and above those of standard practice in affordable housing, although



Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Equity General Partner Capital Deferred Developer Fee


First Security Bank (permanent loan)



Grants and Donations

Capital Campaign (multiple sources) $883,537 Montana Department of Commerce HOME funds $500,000

City of Missoula CDBG $193,700

Total Sources


homeWORD has not been able to identify the exact percentage of increase. Although the ground source heat pumps cost more than HVAC systems typically used in affordable housing, the system was chosen early in the planning process on the basis of the energy modeling results, and its cost was not compared with that of alternative possibilities. Because homeWORD has a mission to help move the local housing market toward more sustainable projects, the additional cost was seen as part of achieving this larger vision. Architect Don MacArthur states that, currently, building green affordable housing "takes so much energy and passion and persistence," but as more begin to do it, it will start to infiltrate the awareness of regulatory and financial institutions. He notes that requirements for Montana's low-income tax credits are being rewritten to provide incentives for sustainable measures. When others see that the funding exists, they also may be willing to try green building, and it will become more widespread.

The project team found that while some green building techniques and products were more expensive than typical construction, others cost the same or even less. Replacing portland cement with locally produced fly ash was actually cheaper in the Missoula area. The sustainably harvested wood cost almost exactly the same as typical wood, as did the community barn doors of reclaimed timber, which otherwise would have been purchased as new custom doors, given their size. Many features did not incur additional costs, such as the low-volatile organic compound (low-VOC) sealants and adhesives, because of the economies of scale enjoyed by a 35-unit project.

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