June 22, 2008 – Governor David A. Paterson today announced that the Legislature has agreed to pass one of his signature initiatives – legislation that will encourage the construction of new homes and the renovation of existing homes to meet “green building” standards. The bill authorizes the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to create a program that will provide financial incentives to New Yorkers who “go green.”
Energy and water use in residential buildings have significant impacts on the environment, making incentives a worthy investment for New Yorkers. Nationwide, residential buildings account for about 22 percent of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and 74 percent of water use. Homeowners and builders who take advantage of these new incentives will help reduce the energy, carbon and environmental footprints of homes.
“As a state and as a nation, we need to take every step possible to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and conserve energy and natural resources. This legislation is a step towards that goal,” said Governor Paterson. “At a time when energy prices are escalating and the citizens of New York are interested in adopting sustainable building practices, this bill provides a timely and effective way to boost green building construction for New York homeowners. A greater reliance on green products will also strengthen the demand for these products and benefit our economy.”
The amount of the grants will be based on a number of considerations, including the size and type of the residential structure. While New York has incentives in place to promote green buildings in the commercial sector, this is the first program that will provide these incentives for the residential sector.
NYSERDA will develop program guidelines, such as standards and criteria for eligibility, application procedures, awards and award levels, inspection procedures, documentation and compliance requirements, and training and qualification procedures for builders and technicians.
The program will include incentives aimed such things as:
- Sustainability measures relating to energy conservation and efficiency
- Water conservation
- Indoor air quality
- Use of nontoxic and renewable building products
- Natural resources conservation
In developing the program, NYSERDA will consult existing standards and criteria, such as those established by the U.S. Green Building Council under its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) programs and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said: “By encouraging the construction of more green homes we can reduce waste, improve indoor air quality, and reduce indoor and outdoor pollution and improve water conservation. Buildings account for approximately 20% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, as well as 74% of water use and 21% of energy consumption nationwide. I applaud the leadership of Senator George Maziarz and Governor Paterson to get a strong result to address this important issue.”
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said: “Green Buildings are constructed to lower a home’s environmental impact and reduce energy use in away that results in economic benefits. New York is setting the standard to encourage new buildings that are designed and constructed to be energy efficient and minimize their impact on the environment. This measure will include an incentive to New Yorkers who build or renovate their homes to meet these Green Building standards. The Assembly Majority applauds Governor Paterson for making this an important issue for the future of our state.”
Senator George Maziarz, Chair of Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee said: “The Green Residential Building Grant Program will build upon New York’s already successful programs to encourage the construction of homes that are energy efficient, as well as address other important environmental concerns. This legislation was a joint effort between the Legislature and the Governor and I thank Governor Paterson and Assemblyman Cahill for their commitment to move this important legislation forward.
Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, Chair of the Assembly Energy Committee said: “This legislation was a direct response to rising energy costs and new developments in green technology. Given the large amount of energy used by residential homes, meeting energy facilities owned and operated by state government and meeting energy and resource performance standards would result in decreased energy use and increased use of recycled materials. This is a great step in reducing waste and making our state more competitive.”
Senator Kevin Parker, Ranking Member of the Senate Energy Committee said: “As the Ranking Member of the Senate Energy Committee I have advocated that New York’s economic future depends on a well-managed world-class energy system. However, part of what we lacked before was a long term commitment and vision for an energy efficient future. Governor Paterson’s Green Residential Building Grant Program is the kind of clear-eyed assessment of ways to fix the weaknesses in our energy systems that we have needed in this state. His legislation is certainly a step in the right direction. I commend the Governor on the initiative which I believe will not just live up to its aim of energy conservation but also protect our environment, job development and encourage economic growth.”
Robert Callender, Vice President for Programs at NYSERDA said: “Green Buildings increase the efficient use of energy, environmental, and human resources. NYSERDA commends Governor Paterson and the Legislature for approving this initiative. NYSERDA has long supported and encouraged the growth of Green Building infrastructure in New York State and this legislation will help us to further expand that effort into the residential sector. Increases in efficiency directly translate into economic benefit and Green Buildings incorporate practices that significantly reduce or eliminate adverse environmental impacts. This is of great benefit to New York State residents.”
Russell Unger, Executive Director of the U.S. Green Building Council’s New York Chapter, said: “This legislation will provide the right elements and incentives for New Yorkers who want to green their homes, save money and help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I am especially pleased because it will also encourage the average homeowner to make changes to their existing home. This should go a long way toward making New York State a greener place to live.”
Dave Gahl, Policy Director at Environmental Advocates of New York said: “Energy use in residential buildings account for significant climate-altering pollution in the United States. These grants that this legislation enables are essential to reducing New York’s contribution to global warming. Governor Paterson and the State Legislature are to be congratulated for moving this forward.”
Governor Paterson and First Lady Michele Paige Paterson are committed to the “Greening the Mansion” initiative, which will culminate in the Executive Mansion being a certified green building. This bill was announced by the First Lady at the Governor’s Mansion on May 1st, as part of her work to help make green homes more affordable to the average New Yorker. This bill will also help the State achieve its goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and meet its goal to reduce electricity use by 15 percent below forecasted levels by 2015.