Clean Energy Initiative

Overview

HCR is working to put current and future affordable housing projects on the path to meeting New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act ("Climate Act”), which mandates an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, compared to New York State’s 1990 carbon emission levels. For buildings, this will mean dramatically improving building efficiency, especially with regard to building envelope performance and hot water consuming appliances and fixtures and replacing fossil fuel combusting equipment with efficient electric solutions. 

To develop a market for this type of affordable housing construction and a model for streamlining access to financial and technical assistance resources from New York State, HCR, has partnered with NYSERDA to demonstrate an approach for incorporating clean energy incentives and technical support for highly-efficient, all-electric new construction or adaptive reuse projects and highly efficient all-electric and electric-ready Retrofits in Existing Buildings. CEI is intended to fund activities related to this work and is secured directly through HCR, without requiring an application to NYSERDA. 

Clean Energy Initiative Funding is available for properties applying for and receiving either 9% LIHTC, CIF,  or 4% Bond financing. Please review the specific funding availability in the links below. Recipients of CEI funds are not eligible to receive funding from NYSERDA, with an exception for their RTEM, NYSun/solar programs, and the Utilities Clean Heat Program. All CEI recipients must show proof of paying into the Systems Benefit Charge (SBC) through their local utility provider. 

Background

HCR is working to put current and future affordable housing projects on the path to meeting New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act ("Climate Act”), which mandates an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, compared to New York State’s 1990 carbon emission levels. For buildings, this will mean dramatically improving efficiency by increasing the performance of building envelopes and hot water consuming appliances/fixtures and replacing fossil fuel combusting equipment with efficient electric solutions.

To develop this type of affordable housing construction and a model for streamlining access to financial and technical assistance resources from New York State, HCR has partnered with NYSERDA to demonstrate an approach for incorporating clean energy incentives and technical support for highly-efficient, all-electric new construction or adaptive reuse projects. Up to $12,500/unit in clean energy funding will be made available for select projects as a source in the project’s Sources and Uses to enable projects to meet HCR’s Stretch Sustainability Standards: highly-efficient, all-electric buildings (fully defined below).

Funding Description

HCR’s Clean Energy Incentives for High Performance Projects (“CEI”) is open to new construction/adaptive reuse and existing building renovations.

Projects will be selected from both the 4% Bond Finance and 9% LIHTC programs per the eligibility criteria found on the respective links below. If selected for clean energy funding, 4% projects will be notified through a conditional award letter contingent upon final approval of project financing. 9% LIHTC projects will be notified at the same time as the RFP funding award announcements.

In addition to receiving clean energy funding based on construction type (described below) to offset the incremental costs associated with achieving the designed building performance, awarded CEI projects will receive support from a designated Technical Assistance Provider (“TAP”) to assist with the enhanced design efforts, at no additional cost to the project. After the award is made, the Technical Assistance Provider will guide the project’s development team and energy efficiency consultant through an integrated design process to achieve the highly efficient, all-electric (Carbon Neutral Ready). The HCR assigned TAP should not replace or substitute any services that are required for building performance certification or otherwise required by HCR’s programs.

New Construction:
Funding Announcement coming soon

Adaptive Reuse:
Funding Announcement coming soon

Existing Buildings/Preservation:
Funding Announcement coming soon

Project Eligibility Criteria

Projects eligible to be considered under Phase 1A will meet the following criteria:

  1. Projects are new construction or adaptive reuse.
  2. Projects must be currently 1) designed to utilize fossil fuel on-site; 2) designed to partial electrification; or 3) demonstrate a gap in financing to reach HCR’s Stretch Sustainability Standards.
  3. The applicant has demonstrated success incorporating energy efficiency or electrification into past projects.
  4. To be eligible for participation, a project must be, or be capable of and intend to be, a New York State electricity distribution customer of a participating utility company that pays into the System Benefits Charge (SBC).
  5. The development team is able to commit to the enhanced design to achieve highly-efficient, all-electric (Carbon Neutral Ready) building performance as defined in this solicitation.
  6. The development team will commit to partner with a designated Technical Assistance Provider, who will assist in: 
    1. Enhanced design development and construction documentation with the current project design team.
    2. Construction oversight.
    3. Measurement and Verification for two years post lease up.
    4. Benchmarking outlined in the regulatory agreement.
  7. The development team will commit to working closely with HCR’s Office of Finance and Development, Design Unit and Sustainability Team through design, construction, measurement and verification.

HCR’s Stretch Sustainability Standards

Highly-Efficient, All-Electric (Carbon Neutral Ready) Buildings:

The goal of the clean energy funding program is to build carbon neutral-ready affordable housing. This means that projects exclude fossil fuels from the building systems and equipment, are designed and constructed with a highly energy efficient building shell, and utilize highly efficient appliances/fixtures. Building systems and equipment include building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), domestic hot water (DHW) (where technically feasible based on today’s technology), and appliances. Projects that rely on a fossil fuel-fired generator for emergency use only, or projects which are served by an off-site fossil fuel-fired central heating plant may qualify as Carbon Neutral Ready if fossil fuel use is excluded from all other building systems and equipment. HCR, as its sole direction, will consider exceptions to the carbon neutral-ready rule for process loads occurring in mixed-use spaces on a case-by-case basis.

Compliance:

To demonstrate compliance as a highly-efficient, all-electric building (carbon neutral ready), participating projects will be required to submit a signed contract with a licensed or certified professional able to certify or confirm compliance and verify to one of the following standards listed below: 

  • All space heating, cooling and domestic hot water appliances and equipment will be high performance electric such as, but not limited to: Air-Source or Water-Source Heat Pumps or Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) units AND one of the following project certification programs must be achieved:
  • Passive House:
    • PHI Classic
    • PHIUS+ 2018 Core or PHIUS+ 2021
    • PHIUS Prescriptive 
  • Enterprise Green Communities 2020 Plus
  • Advanced Levels of Energy Star Certification: 
    • ASHRAE pathway: Certified PLUS 30% additional source energy savings (before solar)
    • ERI pathway: Certified PLUS and ERI ≤ (0.75 x MFNC v1.1 ERI Target) (before solar).
      • For townhomes: Certified PLUS ERI of 45 (before solar).

Integrated Design:

Projects must also utilize an integrated design process to achieve HCR’s Stretch Sustainability Standards and minimize costs. Proposals must include a detailed description of how the project will use a collaborative process throughout the design, construction and start-up operations of the facility to achieve project outcomes at high quality and cost effectiveness.  The proposal must include a description of how this multi-disciplinary team approach will be followed.  A detailed scope of work, identifying team members, process, tasks schedule and budget must be included in the proposal.  At least one team member responsible for overseeing this work must have demonstrated prior success leading a project that utilized an integrated design process.

Exceptions and Exemptions for the Use of Funds:

The funds are designed to cover the cost difference between a project that complies with HCR Design Guidelines, including Appendix F requirements, and HCR’s Stretch Sustainability Goals: highly-efficient, all-electric (Carbon Neutral Ready) buildings. The scope does not require the applicant to include ground source heat pumps, solar photovoltaics, embodied carbon reductions (from material selection or design improvements to reduce quantity of material), or other innovative technologies not specifically mentioned above.   While those additional items are not required within in this scope, development teams are strongly encouraged to include those considerations where they can be included cost effectively in the project scope.

Project selection to receive clean energy funds and/or technical support through this demonstration will satisfy the HCR Mandatory Energy Efficiency Strategy required as part of the 4% program and outlined in Appendix F of the HCR Design Guidelines. Applicants should not change their original path for compliance with the HCR Mandatory Energy Efficiency Strategy until the applicant is notified of an award.

Projects selected for clean energy funding and technical support through this demonstration will be prohibited from receiving financial support from other clean energy programs that support highly-efficient, all-electric (Carbon Neutral Ready) housing. If projects have already applied to a NYSERDA program, such as the New Construction – Housing Program or Buildings of Excellence, acceptance of the demonstration funding shall be considered to supersede that previous funding allocation, and HCR, NYSERDA and the awardee shall work together to cancel the New Construction – Housing Award and/or Buildings of Excellence awards and remove its funds from the capital stack post award notification.

Other programs, such as but potentially not limited to the following programs shall be considered to be acceptable to use in conjunction with this award: Real Time Energy Management Program (RTEM), Charge Ready NY, and NY Sun. Projects may also be eligible for  NYS Clean Heat, a utility run program.  Projects may also be eligible to receive federal or state tax credits for some aspects of their project. HCR encourages project teams to research and apply for these supplemental funding programs. 

How to Apply

Directions on how to apply, coming soon.