Green for Green
The state Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and the Home Builders Association of Delaware are working together to launch a program that will be implemented through the SEU to provide direct incentives to homebuyers who purchase energy-efficient homes built to high standards certified by a trusted third party like the National Association of Home Builders’ Green Building Standard or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Incentives that range from $3,000 – $6,000 will be available to consumers who want to cut energy bills, but are constrained by the daunting costs of buying a new home.
The program is anticipated to leverage nearly $20 million in private construction and generate 15-40 percent energy savings on new homes. The “Green for Green” rebate will be offered to homebuyers working with Delaware builders who have registered and qualify for the program. A new website, www.degreen4green.com has been created that includes additional program details for homebuyers and builders.
To qualify for a rebate, a home must be certified by third-party inspection to meet the Silver Level or higher standards of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) National Green Building Standard (NGBS) or LEED-H (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design for Homes), and follow the guidelines of the Delaware Green for Green Program.
You will need to consult with your builder to determine which green features should be added to your new home in order to meet the minimum criteria. If the buyer and builder agree, the builder can complete the application on the buyer’s behalf and secure verification that the project qualifies.
The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) will then approve the project and pre-approve the homebuyer for the rebate and ensure proof of funds to complete the project. Construction can then begin and federal stimulus dollars will be reserved for 180 days. Energize Delaware will be notified about 30 days in advance of closing to prepare the rebate check and a final inspection of the home is conducted to confirm that it meets the program’s criteria. Funds are issued in the form of a check payable to the home purchaser at closing for NAHB certified homes. LEED for Homes funds will be paid within 30 days of receipt of the LEED-H certification, which typically occurs after occupancy.
Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the U.S. Department of Energy at a level of $300,000, the rebates distributed by the SEU’s Energize Delaware will fund energy upgrades for approximately 80 homes throughout the state. The program’s duration will be determined by available funds and the level of participation.
The standard requires that a qualified, independent third party inspect the project and verify that all green design or construction practices that the builder claims toward a green certification are actually incorporated into the project.
Three levels of rebates are being offered: $3,000 for a NGBS Silver-certified home; $5,000 for NGBS Gold-certified home; and $6,000 for NGBS Emerald-certified home. LEED certified homes of Silver or greater qualify for a $5,000 rebate.
Building to LEED-H or to the NGBS Silver or Gold standard will produce significant energy savings for homeowners. According to the NAHB Research Center, based on an average monthly electric bill of $131.23, a Delaware homeowner of a Silver-certified home can expect to conservatively save about $39.37 per month or about 16 percent. A Gold-certified home homeowner can save about $65.62, or about 36 percent on an average monthly electric bill.
Any builder is eligible for Green certification, as long as they comply with all practices necessary to achieve Silver certification or above in the National Green Building Standard or LEED for Homes program. Note that to qualify, a new home must be located in a county or municipality’s designated growth zone. DNREC will make that determination when a builder registers his or her individual subdivisions with the Green4Green program.
This program is only available for new construction homes prior to settlement. For existing homes planning energy efficient upgrades, refer to the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program for available rebates. ? ?
Funds are issued in the form of a check payable to the home purchaser at closing for NAHB certified homes. LEED for Homes funds will be paid within 30 days of receipt of the LEED H certification, which typically occurs after occupancy.
Once the program launches, builders will be able to submit their company for approval to be listed in an online directory. When the application has been approved, a participation agreement will indicate your agreement to the program rules. You may submit a grant application on behalf of each individual buyer who you have under contract for a new green home.
A builder may submit a grant application for an unlimited number of pending contracts as long as each contract meets the grant requirements. Grant funding is limited and is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Grants will be awarded to homebuyers at settlement whose new construction homes meet one of two different certification programs: the National Green Building Standard Program and the LEED for Residential Program.
Your questions can be submitted to the Delaware Green Building Council of the Home Builders Association of Delaware at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We encourage you to explore the Energize Delaware website for more money-saving tips for all seasons. If you need more information, give us a call at 877-624-4448, or submit your questions by email. Don't forget to sign up for e-mail alerts to receive the latest program launch information.