What are the best financing options for building green in New York?
Most of the financial incentives available to homeowners are for improving energy efficiency.
In New York, all roads lead to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Residents in New York State typically pay about 70 cents per year to NYSERDA through their electric bills. In return, NYSERDA administers some 2,700 projects a year through New York Energy Smart. Their programs are too numerous to list here, but you could learn a lot by exploring the NYSERDA and New York Energy Smart websites. Here is a sampling:
An energy audit through the Home Performance with Energy Star program is a good way to start. Through the program, you can have your home’s energy efficiency assessed by a Building Performance Institute (BPI)–accredited home performance contractor. The contractor will create a report for you with recommended energy efficiency upgrades and the estimated cost and savings of each upgrade.
Homeowners may qualify for low-interest loans to make the suggested improvements through the New York Energy Smart Loan Program. Participating lenders offer the loans at up to 4 percent below current interest rates.
New York Energy Smart offers incentives for installing photovoltaic (PV) and solar-electric systems through the Solar-Electric System Incentive Program. New York Energy Smart can cover between 40 and 70 percent of the purchase and installation costs for a PV system.
New York also offers state tax credits for residents improving the energy efficiency of their homes:
The Solar and Fuel Cell Tax Credit can help you pay for solar energy systems in your home, up to 25 percent of the cost of equipment and installation.
Other New York tax incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency upgrades are listed in the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.
Don’t forget to explore funding sources available at the national level:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website provides a list of national, state, and local programs that fund green building projects.
The website for the Tax Incentives Assistance Project offers information about federal tax incentives for energy efficiency upgrades.