On December 20, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced the launch of a new $30 million initiative called Building Better Homes - Emissions Free and Healthier Communities to build market capacity and demand for healthier decarbonized homes and neighborhoods. The initiative will establish a network of builders and developers that are committed to building carbon-neutral single-family homes and neighborhoods and provide training and technical support to builders and developers interested in both advancing the single-family carbon-neutral housing market and marketing themselves as leaders in decarbonization and healthy home construction. Advancing carbon neutrality in the building sector supports the state's nation-leading goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent by 2050 as mandated by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act).
"Single-family homes are too often overlooked as sources of greenhouse gas emissions in New York and it's crucial we work with both developers and homebuyers to reduce emissions," Governor Hochul said. "Through the Building Better Homes initiative and its incentives, we are not only ensuring homebuyers have greener options to choose from, but also that we continue to work with the building and development industries to pave the way towards a more sustainable future."
The initiative will be administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), and this recent announcement makes $5 million available under phase one of the program to support builders and developers seeking training, technical assistance, marketing support, and funding to build carbon-free model homes. This program will grow the carbon-neutral single-family home market as well as support modernization and decarbonization of building designs and construction practices to incorporate carbon-neutral technologies and cost-effectively deliver high-quality, healthy, resilient, and sustainable homes. Applications to become a program partner, with up to $250,000 available per partner, will be accepted through December 31, 2023. For more information on this opportunity and how to become a partner, please visit NYSERDA's website.
As part of the Building Better Homes initiative, NYSERDA is also partnering with New York State Builders Association and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), to advance construction of carbon-neutral homes and promote their non-energy benefits, particularly indoor air quality improvements associated with the absence of combustion appliances and the inclusion of balanced ventilation. These partnerships will provide information about the health benefits of carbon-neutral construction that builders and developers can integrate into their own materials to educate homebuyers. Through the partnership with AAFA and their existing diversity, equity, and inclusion programming, special attention will be paid to educating the builder network about the health benefits of carbon-neutral construction in disadvantaged communities, which traditionally have higher rates of asthma and allergy, in part due to the siting of fossil fuel plants and transportation corridors in these neighborhoods as well as in-home combustion.
Building Better Homes is part of a multi-year investment to decarbonize single-family home new construction, and subsequent phases of the program will provide funding for entire carbon-neutral neighborhoods to be built, with a goal to increase home buyer demand for healthier carbon-neutral homes by educating home buyers on the health and performance benefits. NYSERDA will launch the second phase of this program in mid-2022 with $10 million in funding as a design competition, similar to its successful Buildings of Excellence Competition, which awards exemplary carbon-neutral multifamily building designs. A third component of the program will launch in 2022 to build consumer demand by educating homebuyers on healthy and emissions-free home construction.
This announcement also advances recommendations included in New York State's draft Carbon Neutral Buildings Roadmap, which identified building market capacity through training and technical support as a critical barrier to achieve scale for decarbonization in the new construction market.
Buildings are some of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in New York State, and integrating energy efficiency and electrification measures in existing buildings will reduce carbon pollution and help achieve more sustainable, healthy, and comfortable buildings. Through NYSERDA and utility programs, over $6.8 billion is being invested to decarbonize buildings across the State. In addition to the carbon benefits, these projects will also help the State achieve its ambitious energy efficiency target to reduce on-site energy consumption by 185 TBtu by 2025, the equivalent of powering 1.8 million homes.
This program is funded through NYSERDA's $6 billion Clean Energy Fund.