FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 15, 2023
Providence, RI – RIHousing, the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) and Rhode Island Energy (RIE) have released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the 2023 Zero Energy for the Ocean State (ZEOS) Program. This program offers up to $500,000 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 RIE to stimulate innovative, replicable solutions that utilize cost saving and 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, air-source heat pumps and encourage use of systems to reduce energy consumption during peak demand.
“A necessary spotlight is on housing right now in Rhode Island, and we must use this moment and momentum to invest in more projects that help address the pressing needs of our neighborhoods and communities,” said Carol Ventura, Executive Director at RIHousing. “As we focus on making new affordable housing units available to families, it’s just as important to ensure these projects also help – not harm – our environment, and work toward meeting our state’s bold zero-emission goal. Our ZEOS Program does just that.”
Zero Energy Buildings are defined as an energy-efficient building with zero net energy consumption, meaning the total amount of energy used by a building on an annual basis is less than or equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site.
This new grant funding is being made available following a successful second round of ZEOS in 2021 that resulted in the funding of three projects in Tiverton, Providence, and East Greenwich, with a variety of income requirements and innovative designs. Among the 2021 awards, Tiverton’s Bourne Mill III project, currently under construction and expected to be completed in April 2024, is a 59-unit new construction project featuring a clean energy all-electric building with a solar photovoltaic array and electric vehicle charging. The energy efficient design adheres to strict Passive House standards and is targeted to hit a Net Zero rating.
Since the ZEOS program began in 2019, it has supported the development of 186 units of Net Zero housing.
“The 2021 Act on Climate sets Rhode Island on a path to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and the ZEOS program is an important part of that goal,” said Acting State Energy Commissioner Chris Kearns. “We must continue to develop affordable and sustainable net zero homes that reduce energy consumption, decrease costs, and create jobs in our local economy. This request for proposals represents another meaningful step forward in our successful collaboration with RIHousing and Rhode Island Energy to achieve these ambitious climate goals, while expanding affordable housing in our state.”
The Request for Proposals is publicly posted on the RIHousing website at https://www.rihousing.com/rfps-rfqs. Eligible units may be new construction and/or renovation projects in 1-4-unit properties or larger multifamily homes. The ZEOS grant award will be limited to $17,000 per unit for 1-4-unit properties and $7,000 per unit for larger multifamily developments. Buildings must meet ZEB standards and participate in RIE’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’re excited to build upon the success the ZEOS initiative has achieved over the past few years in bringing more net zero energy homes to the affordable housing market in Rhode Island,” said Brett Feldman, head of energy efficiency strategy at Rhode Island Energy. “These grants and the projects are critical in helping to ensure we have a reliable, equitable and scalable roadmap to help more Rhode Islanders participate in the clean energy future.”
This program will leverage multiple sources of funding, including a $250,000 grant from RIHousing, $250,000 in 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.
**RIHousing works to ensure that all people who live in Rhode Island can afford a healthy, attractive home that meets their needs. RIHousing provides loans, grants, education and assistance to help Rhode Islanders find, rent, buy, build and keep a good home. Created by the General Assembly in 1973, RIHousing is a self-sustaining corporation and receives no state funding for operations. For more information regarding RIHousing, visit RIHousing.com or follow us @RIHousing on Facebook and Twitter.
About the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources
The Office of Energy Resources (OER) is Rhode Island’s lead state agency on energy policy and programs. The mission of OER is to lead Rhode Island to a secure, cost-effective, and sustainable energy future. OER works closely with private and public stakeholders to increase the reliability and security of our energy supply, reduce energy costs and mitigate price volatility, and improve environmental quality.
About Rhode Island Energy
Rhode Island Energy provides essential energy services to over 770,000 customers across Rhode Island through the delivery of electricity or natural gas. Our team is dedicated to helping Rhode Island customers and communities thrive, while supporting the transition to a cleaner energy future. Rhode Island Energy is part of the PPL Corporation family of companies addressing energy challenges head-on by building smarter, more resilient and more dynamic power grids and advancing sustainable energy solutions. For more information visit www.RIEnergy.com and stay connected on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.