New Yorkers Could Be Funded for Building Green

ALBANY, New York, August 31, 2007 (ENS) - New York homeowners who build or renovate homes that meet green building criteria may get some financial help from the state of New York.

Governor Eliot Spitzer's administration will propose legislation that offers a direct financial incentive, said New York First Lady Silda Wall Spitzer, announcing the initiative on Tuesday.

The amount of the incentive will be based on the size of the home, with a cap of $10,000 per home, and help offset the typical 5 percent increase in construction costs when "green" or "sustainable" features are incorporated, she said.

"Buildings are part of the problem of climate change, but they can also be part of the solution if they meet a higher standard for environmental sustainability," said Spitzer.

"This legislation offers an economic incentive to everyday New Yorkers who would like to make their homes more energy efficient, but are concerned about higher construction costs. The incentive will help defray these upfront costs, which will yield significant energy and cost savings for the homeowner in the long term," she said.

David Brown, executive director of the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, joined the First Lady to announce two separate initiatives to promote the construction of green homes and state-owned buildings.

Beginning in 2008, all new state construction projects and major renovations managed by the Dormitory Authority will meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards established by the United States Green Building Council, said Brown.

The LEED Green Building Rating System is an internationally recognized program for the design, construction, and maintenance of high-performance green buildings. LEED addresses all aspects of building construction and operation, including energy efficiency, land use, water conservation and re-use, indoor air quality, renewable energy, non-toxic landscaping practices, and recycling.

Both announcements are the latest initiatives in Governor Spitzer's comprehensive energy and environmental agenda.

Earlier this year, the Governor unveiled his "15 x 15" plan to reduce energy use by 15 percent from forecasted levels by the year 2015 through new energy efficiency programs intended to reduce energy bills, greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollution.

Paul Tonko, president and CEO of New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, said: "Our Governor and First Lady are leading an energy revolution. In response to their noble mission, it is imperative that we color our energy thinking with bolder shades of green."

"The Dormitory Authority's initiative will be a model which converts buildings from a contributor to climate change to a solution to climate change," said Tonko, complimenting the administration's "progressive vision."

Fiona Cousins, Chair of the Board of Directors for the U.S. Green Building Council's New York Chapter, said, "Green building is about you and me and where we live and work. I hope the State Legislature will support the new incentive program, which will provide much-needed support to average New Yorkers wishing to green their homes."

Buildings are responsible for 39 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions produced in the United States. Residential homes alone are responsible for 22 percent.

The United States Green Building Council estimates that LEED certification for homes reduces energy use by 25 to 60 percent and saves 2.5 to 5 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

A typical LEED commercial building reduces energy use by 32 percent.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2007. All rights reserved.