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RIHousing and OER announce request for proposals for green and energy efficient housing

PROVIDENCE, R.I. RIHousing and the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) will be releasing a Request for Proposals (RFP) on May 26 for the 2021 Zero Energy for the Ocean State (ZEOS) Program. This program offers up to $750,000 in grants to design and construct affordable, energy efficient housing to serve low- and moderate-income Rhode Islanders.

This program is the result of a public-private partnership between RIHousing, OER and National Grid to stimulate innovative, replicable solutions that utilize cost saving, clean energy technologies in homes. Program partners are seeking proposals from qualified teams to design and construct affordable, energy efficient Zero Energy Buildings (ZEBs) that use technologies such as solar, storage, and electric heat pumps, and enable demand response participation.

"This multi-agency investment will create replicable models for sustainability across our state," said Carol Ventura, Executive Director at RIHousing. "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."

Zero Energy Buildings are defined as any energy-efficient building with zero net energy consumption, meaning the total amount of energy used by a building on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site.

This new grant funding is being made available following a successful first round of ZEOS in 2019 that resulted in the funding of three projects with a variety of income requirements and innovative designs. Of those projects, Sheridan Small Homes, developed by ONE Neighborhood Builders, is currently constructing a community of five affordable passive-house units.

"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," said State Energy Commissioner Nicholas Ucci.

The Request for Proposals will be publicly posted on the RIHousing website https://www.rihousing.com/rfps-rfqs/ on May 26. Eligible units may be new construction and/or renovation projects in 1-4 family or multifamily homes. The ZEOS grant award will be limited to $15,000 per unit for 1-4 family properties and $6,000 per unit for multifamily developments. Buildings must meet ZEB standards and participate in National Grid's Residential New Construction Program. The total award cannot exceed $250,000 for any individual project. Previously funded ZEOS projects are not eligible for this grant.

"We look forward to supporting the 2021 ZEOS initiative to further accelerate the adoption of net zero energy homes for the affordable housing market in Rhode Island," said Chris Porter, Director, Customer Energy Management, National Grid. "The principles of this grant to create replicable designs incorporating strategies to reduce energy cost burdens, improve thermal comfort, and support the clean energy future are critical to ensuring a reliable, equitable and scalable pathway to decarbonization for all Rhode Islanders."

This program will leverage multiple sources of funding, including a grant from RIHousing, state Renewable Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) proceeds, and available utility-administered incentives. While individual homeowners are not eligible to receive direct funding under this grant, individual organizations or teams composed of a lead organization and partner organizations are welcome to apply. Complete details on the program and RFP can be found online at: www.rihousing.com.

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