Enterprise, NYSERDA Partner to Provide Grants for Green Affordable Housing

By Erika Schnitzer, Associate EditorNew York—In an effort to encourage green affordable housing, Enterprise and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) have partnered to provide New York State developers with grants of up to $25,000 per project.“The real key with NYSERDA and Enterprise is that we share a common mission around energy efficiency and how we get there,” says Keith Fairey, deputy director in Enterprise’s New York office. “NYSERDA is looking at reducing energy usage around the state and in return reducing the climate impact of energy usage and the strain on the energy grid. Enterprise looks at long-term sustainability and viability of affordable housing projects.”The Enterprise-NYSERDA Collaborative 2008 New Construction Grant Program, which will provide grants for up to 25 projects, is part of Enterprise’s New York Green Communities initiative. Projects receiving grant money from this program must meet Enterprise’s Green Communities criteria, in addition to participating in NYSERDA’s Multifamily Performance Program, which works to improve the energy efficiency, health, safety and security of residential buildings. “NYSERDA created a program to provide incentives to developers to make [projects] more energy-efficient. Enterprise created a holistic set of standards, including energy efficiency, indoor air quality and green building practices. The whole sustainability practice and program is what we are trying to encourage by providing grant dollars,” Fairey tells MHN.The program’s grant money may be used for: planning expenses related to the integrated design process, including the additional costs of architectural work, charrette, engineering, site surveys, analysis of energy use and environmental reviews; costs of architect’s certification that Green Communities criteria have been met, as well as costs of any other third-party assistance in certifying a development; costs of tracking the incremental costs of implementing individual items in the criteria; and third-party costs of establishing systems and tools for property management and resident education in order to maximize the benefits of the green measures once the property is operating.“We are seeing a real change in the way affordable housing is getting built around the country and around the state,” Fairey says, noting that over 85 percent of applicants for this year’s New York State’s Division of Housing & Community Renewal unified funding round applied for green points.