Governor McKee, RI Office of Energy Resources and RIHousing Announce $500,000 Awarded to Build Affordable, Energy Efficient Homes

Published on Thursday, February 01, 2024

PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor McKee, the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) and RIHousing have announced that four housing developments will receive funding through the Zero Energy for the Ocean State (ZEOS) Demonstration Program to design and construct affordable energy efficient Zero Energy Building (ZEB) housing units, which will serve low- and moderate-income residents in Rhode Island. For this third round of ZEOS funding, OER and RIHousing had each committed $250,000 to support the program and its activities.

"Zero energy homes, which are highly efficient and minimize energy expenses, offer a sustainable living solution, particularly for those in environmental justice communities," said Governor Dan McKee. "This program is crucial in our effort to achieve the state's emissions reduction goals, as it simultaneously provides net-zero homes and alleviates the energy burden in these communities."  

“The ZEOS program plays an essential role in meeting our emission reduction objectives with the Act on Climate,” said Acting State Energy Commissioner Chris Kearns. “OER and RIHousing are committed to increasing the creation of cost-effective and environmentally friendly net-zero homes for all Rhode Islanders. This program not only helps to grow the availability of affordable housing throughout the state but also helps us meet our energy and climate goals.” 

The ZEOS initiative is a joint effort between OER, Rhode Island Energy (RIE), and RIHousing, with the goal of funding projects that will incorporate cost-saving and clean energy technologies. These ZEBs will have zero net energy consumption, meaning the buildings will produce enough renewable energy to meet their own energy requirements. 

In March 2023, RIHousing launched its third round of Request for Proposals (RFP) for the $500,000 in funds. Seven proposals were submitted, and after thorough evaluation, four projects were chosen for funding. The developments receiving funds are in Providence, Hopkinton, and Tiverton. 

“RIHousing is committed to partnering with OER and RIE in the state’s ambitious zero energy goals by funding more energy efficient housing developments,” said Carol Ventura, CEO of RIHousing. “As we face this ongoing housing crisis, we must continue to prioritize new, affordable homes – and a key way to keep these homes affordable is by reducing energy costs for residents. The ZEOS Program encourages innovation and sustainable methods that help both residents and the environment.” 

The four projects receiving funding are as follows: 

Parcel 9 (Providence): Pennrose, LLC is constructing a 66-unit new-construction apartment building, a mix of studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments. All units will be made available to those making between 30% to 120% of the Area Median Income (AMI). The building will be equipped with a net-metered rooftop solar system, along with air source heat pumps and energy recovery ventilators (ERVs). This project is receiving $97,000 from the ZEOS Program. 

Summer Street (Providence): Crossroads Rhode Island is developing 176 one-bedroom units, all of which will be for those with incomes at or below 30% of the AMI. Crossroads will install a rooftop net-metered solar system, along with air source heat pumps and ERVs. This project is receiving $250,000 from the ZEOS Program.

Sandywoods (Tiverton): Church Community Housing Corporation has completed two net-zero houses to date through the ZEOS Demonstration Program, with three additional net-zero homes currently under construction. The $34,000 received in this third round of ZEOS funding will add two more single-family net-zero houses. The homes will be made available to households with incomes at or below 80% AMI. A solar system, ERVS, and air source heat pumps will be installed to achieve the energy requirements. 

Cardinal Lane (Hopkinton): Habitat for Humanity Rhode Island, South County, Inc., is constructing seven single-family homes for households with incomes at or below 80% AMI. The homes will have individual solar PV arrays and air-source heat pumps. The project is receiving $119,000 from the ZEOS Program.

Over three rounds of funding, the ZEOS Program will have provided $1,875,000 for the construction of energy efficient housing in Rhode Island, totaling 436 units.