Cooperation among regulators, utilities, and the housing industry is historically contentious, but Delaware’s new Green for Green program may serve as the model that appears to appease everyone.
Launched in May, the program offers homeowners up to a $6,000 rebate at closing for new homes certified by either the ANSI-approved National Green Building Standard (NGBS) or the USGBC’s LEED for Homes program.
The program is funded by $300,000 of federal stimulus money—enough to help offset the costs to achieve certification for an estimated 80 new homes. It also circumvented an effort by the state legislature to mandate stricter energy codes and perhaps third-party green building certification.
“If not for the stimulus, we would not have been able to put this in place,” says Don Yoost, director of construction for J.S. Hovnanian of Mt. Laurel, N.J., which began building homes in Delaware two years ago. “It was a great opportunity to collaborate and gain the benefits of green building for everyone.”
Within three months of launch, the Delaware HBA, a co-designer and administrator of the program, reported that 16 new homes were in the pipeline to earn the rebate and listed 21 builders registered to offer qualified homes per an online application that includes a requirement to build within the state’s designated growth areas.
Once homes are certified by either the NGBS or LEED for Homes program (or both), qualified builders can sell them with the rebate attached, a distinct market advantage versus non-qualified and existing homes.
“We have builders who never considered building green interested in getting involved in this program,” says Jennifer Casey, executive vice president of the state association chapter. “It’s already had a huge impact on our market.”