- A $15 million initiative launched Monday will help fund the design and construction of about 3,000 all-electric, energy-efficient affordable housing units in New York City, according to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
- Building owners and developers can apply for up to $10,000 per unit and up to $1.5 million per multifamily project through the state-funded Future Housing Initiative. Development teams will receive technical assistance from NYSERDA to optimize the design and construction process.
- The initiative “will demonstrate to the affordable housing market a highly replicable new construction solution,” NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen Harris said in a statement.
The initiative emphasizes the relationship between environmental justice, building decarbonization and the housing crisis, with NYSERDA working in partnership with the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
“The ability to leverage both housing and energy capital is critical to get our building stock where it needs to be to meet climate goals that pass benefits down to residents in the form of resilience, health, energy savings and overall benefits to our city and state to reduce the hazards of climate change,” said HP Sustainability Solutions President Esther Toporovsky in an email. HP Sustainability Solutions worked with HPD on the Future Housing Initiative and is an arm of the nonprofit NYC Housing Partnership that focuses on the intersection of affordable housing and environmental sustainability.
All-electric, energy-efficient housing can improve residents’ indoor air quality and lower their energy bills. Low-income multifamily households in New York City face a median energy burden — or percent of income spent on home energy bills — more than three times higher than all multifamily households, according to a 2020 report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
“The central purpose of affordable housing production is to ensure New Yorkers have a safe, high-quality environment to call home — and this mission begins with responsible and sustainable construction practices,” Jolie Milstein, president and CEO of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing, said in a statement.
Buildings eligible for the funding must meet “passive house” energy efficiency standards, which means they will require very little energy to heat and cool. The initiative will help developers pay for the additional costs of meeting those standards.
The Future Housing Initiative, funded through NYSERDA’s $6 billion Clean Energy Fund, is the latest in a string of green building policies and programs in New York. On Friday, for example, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the state would pass the nation’s first law to ban natural gas hookups in most new buildings.
These efforts aim to move the needle further on New York’s requirements to slash greenhouse gas emissions 85% by mid-century compared with 1990 levels while dedicating 35% to 40% of clean energy investment benefits to disadvantaged communities.
In New York City, where buildings produce two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions, the initiative will support Local Law 97, which requires most of the city’s largest buildings to meet stricter energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions limits.
The Future Housing Initiative funding will be disbursed in two rounds, with applications for the first $7.5 million due June 1. The second round will open in 2024.