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SOLAR DAILY
Expansion of Energy Efficiency at Affordable Housing in New York State
by Staff Writers
New York NY (SPX) May 25, 2016


File image.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has announced the commitment of more than $27 million in funding to improve the energy efficiency of existing low- to moderate-income (LMI) affordable housing units throughout the state.The funding will be made available to owners and managers of multifamily housing units to reduce energy costs by investing in whole building and in-unit energy efficiency measures.

These measures will lower bills for owners and residents by a total of $450 million over the 15-year lifetime of the improvements. The energy efficiency upgrades will also improve the health and well-being of over 220,000 affordable households by 2019 while creating a cleaner and safer environment. At the same time, NYSERDA and NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) announced that they will be coordinating development of sustainable, resilient affordable housing for New Yorkers who need it most.

"New York State has steadily increased affordable housing to meet the critical needs of moderate and low-income families over the past few years and continues to do so," said Richard Kauffman, New York State Energy and Finance Chairman. "This funding will provide these most vulnerable of New Yorkers with a safe, quality, healthy place to live, while also reducing energy use to help the State address climate change, leaving no families or communities behind in these efforts."

The $27 million will be provided by NYSERDA's Multifamily Performance Program (MPP) being relaunched today through its new, $5 billion ten-year Clean Energy Fund (CEF). As part of the Governor's Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy, the CEF supports the development and deployment of clean energy technologies that help customers reduce cost, drive economic activity and accelerate the use of clean energy.

In total, the CEF will dedicate a minimum of $234 million to LMI initiatives in its first three years, reflecting the importance of low-to moderate income communities to REV's success at every level and the need to empower LMI communities with greater access to clean and affordable energy. Funds will be available to make targeted changes to improve building performance, conduct comprehensive building retrofits and achieve cost-effective, deep energy savings that will make New York's affordable housing some of the highest performing in the nation.

John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA, said, "New York state needs high-quality, energy-efficient construction and to achieve best housing and energy performance for all New Yorkers. Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, energy agencies like NYSERDA and housing agencies like HCR are coordinating more closely than ever before to deliver projects that will have real impact on our environment and on the lives of residents."

In anticipation of the approval of the Governor's historic $10 billion proposal to create and preserve 100,000 affordable housing units across the state over the next five years, MPP and other NYSERDA multifamily clean energy programs will support new HCR green policies aimed at improving the long-term quality, efficiency and affordability of HCR-financed housing stock.

Jamie Rubin, Commissioner, New York State Homes and Community Renewal, said, "HCR is always looking for new ways to improve affordable housing and the quality of life for residents. By teaming-up with NYSERDA to make strategic investments, we can deliver landlords and residents meaningful financial savings and provide cleaner, healthier homes for thousands of New Yorkers."

HCR will be implementing new and enhanced green building practices. For existing buildings, NYSERDA will assist HCR in implementing new requirements to baseline and benchmark energy usage in its developments, helping to better identify high-energy consuming buildings and connecting building owners to incentives and technical assistance providers that will improve the caliber of their buildings and reduce operating costs.

In new buildings, NYSERDA will reward high-performance buildings that achieve "passive house" and even "net-zero energy standards," where the building produces as much energy as it consumes on-site or through a community shared renewable energy project, which allows residents to buy or lease part of a solar project and receive credit for the power production on their monthly electric bills.

NYSERDA's support of these objectives will help minimize up front construction costs for developments that pursue HCR's strengthened green building standards - including a new Passive House option - in recent and upcoming solicitations, while encouraging New York's newly constructed affordable housing to be among the most sustainable, healthy and resilient in the nation.


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