Question: Erik asks: Is there a program to build a green house that the government pays for upfront and the homeowner pays off over time in their property taxes–such as green building grants?
Hi Erik, thanks for your question.
Unfortunately, there is no greenhouse-exclusive program, but there are multiple green building initiatives that will help fund renewable projects. In your case, it’s possible that one of these larger initiatives could apply to greenhouses.
DSIRE: Green Building Grants and Incentives
Probably the best, user-friendly source for your purposes would be the Database of State Incentives for Renewable and Efficiency (DSIRE). This database — a wonderful green building grant resource — provides comprehensive information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.
DSIRE has been around since 1995 and receives funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. It is an ongoing collaboration between North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.
On DSIRE you can search for opportunities by state, and then further refine those results with the ‘See Residential Incentives Only’ link.
The Nebraska Dollar and Energy Savings Loans program in particular seems similar to what you’re asking about. However, you’ll have to do a search for programs offered in your state to see if there’s an equivalent.
Dollar and Energy Savings Loans creates low interest rate opportunities for residential and commercial energy efficiency improvements. This program was created in 1990 using oil overcharge funds and is administered by the Nebraska Energy Office. It provides green building grants for homeowners, allowing them to apply for 2.5 percent interest rate loans through participating financial organizations. Interest rates of 3.5 percent are offered to New Home Constructions.
If nothing on DSIRE suits your needs, Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency via ENERGY STAR might be your best bet. Tax credits are available for envelope improvements (windows, doors, insulation and roofs), HVAC system improvements, both solar and non-solar water heaters, biomass stoves, geothermal heat pumps, and small-scale renewable energy systems (solar panels, wind energy systems and fuel cells).
Lastly, another place to look for green building grants would be grants.gov. For example, if you conduct a search on their site for renewable grants, you will find several useful grants for using renewable energy.
For more information on grants and loans, consult our free resources on green banks and financing.
Good luck in your search, Erik!
Sarah Gudeman is a mechanical design engineer and licensed EIT in the state of Nebraska. Ms. Gudeman also is a LEED Accredited Professional (BD+C) and an active member of the USGBC Nebraska Flatwater Chapter’s board of directors. She specializes in building energy modeling and audits, sustainable design and environmentally-friendly practices.
Kristen is a writer for Poplar Network.