R.I. Housing, OER to offer grants for energy-efficient affordable housing

PROVIDENCE – The state is incentivizing affordable housing that also helps to meet its ambitious energy goals.

R.I. Housing and Mortgage Finance Corp. and the R.I. Office of Energy Resources on Monday announced it will offer grants for energy-efficient affordable housing projects. The 2021 Zero Energy for the Ocean State Program, administered jointly with National Grid Rhode Island, includes $750,000 for low and moderate-income housing that achieve zero-net energy consumption – meaning total energy used is offset through renewable energy created at the project site. Both new construction and renovation projects are eligible. 

“As Rhode Island works to meet its net-zero emissions target by 2050, the state must continue to lead the nation in developing cost-effective, clean energy solutions that reduce energy consumption and costs, shrink our carbon footprint, and grow good-paying jobs. The ZEOS project builds upon the momentum of recent successes in growing our green energy economy, while also expanding affordable housing for Rhode Islanders,” R.I. Energy Commissioner Nicholas Ucci said in a statement.

Single or up to four-unit homes can receive $15,000 in grants, while larger multi-family buildings will be awarded up to $6,000 per unit with a $250,000 cap per project.

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The program is funded through state grants and proceeds from its carbon dioxide cap and trade program, as well as utility-based incentives through National Grid, which is also a partner in the program.

“This multi-agency investment will create replicable models for sustainability across our state,” said Carol Ventura, executive director at RIHousing, said in a statement. “RIHousing is committed to developing housing that Rhode Islanders can afford. The energy efficient features in these homes will result in reduced energy costs for residents, thereby increasing their disposable income to meet other expenses.”

A prior round of funding through the program in 2019 benefited three projects, including a five-unit condominium complex in Olneyville by ONE Neighborhood Builders, the release stated.

R.I. Housing will release its request for proposals from eligible applicants on May 26. Previously funded projects are not eligible. More information is available at www.rihousing.com.

Nancy Lavin is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Lavin@PBN.com.