IRA Calculator: Crunching the Numbers, Finding the Opportunities

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was widely celebrated when it passed in August 2022. But for many, its ability to fund sustainable development remains a mystery. GBBN and engineering firm, CMTA, dug into the weeds of the legislation to find the funding opportunities that can transform our regions for the better.

“In conversations with clients and other colleagues in the construction and development industries, we found that many people either didn’t know about (or didn’t fully understand) the resources the IRA makes available to incentivize sustainable and equitable development,” GBBN Principal, Amanda Markovic, AIA explains. “We developed an IRA Calculator to change that by making otherwise dense legislation accessible.”

GBBN’s Director of Sustainability & Resilience Tiffany Broyles Yost, Director of Research Shan Jiang, and Stephen Mrdjenovich, who helped develop an IRA Calculator, recently shared the tool publicly for the first time at a meeting with the Green Building Alliance in Pittsburgh. They ran through a series of real-world case studies that have used the IRA Calculator to uncover funding opportunities.

“With lower operational costs and increased resilience, sustainable design is frequently more attractive over the long-term,” Tiffany observes. “Unfortunately, higher upfront costs often lead people to sacrifice these long-term outcomes to make the financing work in the short-term.”

GBBN and CMTA’s team reviewed the legislation to identify the incentives that are most relevant to developers and large building owners as well as critical strategies for accessing those incentives. This was then distilled into a short questionnaire that can help our clients understand the opportunities and incentives the IRA holds.

“It’s sort of like a mortgage calculator,” says Tiffany. “Without having to review the legislation yourself, it can set you on the right path. Are you deploying solar arrays, geothermal, or passive design strategies? Are you building affordable housing (and for what income levels)? Are you building within an Environmental Justice Community? Are you paying prevailing wages? By answering questions like these, our clients can see what incentives might apply to their projects. They can also play with the answers to arrive at a sustainability approach that makes sense to them.”

“For clients who are already committed to sustainability, the IRA can help overcome funding gaps. For others, it can help incentivize sustainable design,” Amanda says. “With potentially hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in incentives at stake per project, the IRA offers a huge opportunity to work with our clients in building a more sustainable world. The IRA Calculator will help speed this transition, so it reflects the urgency of the situation.”

“The IRA Calculator is not a substitute for professional tax advice, but it can help our clients develop a winning strategy and take the right questions to their financial team,” Amanda adds.

For more on sustainability at GBBN, read our Sustainability Action Plan. Or read our case studies on Tree Pittsburgh, Fifth & Dinwiddie East, or Fifth & Dinwiddie West

To learn about our IRA Calculator, contact Tiffany at