Green buildings can provide a niche market for renewable energy technologies. Specifically, renewable energy technologies may be more cost-effective when incorporated into the design of a building rather than when retrofitted on an existing building, and renewable energy systems may provide added value as an educational tool when incorporated into a green building. Massachusetts is implementing an aggressive program budgeted at about $28 million through 2004 that is aimed at inducing construction of green buildings that incorporate renewable energy technologies. Massachusetts' program supports feasibility studies and provides design and construction grants for both green schools and green buildings. Innovative Features
- Massachusetts' program is, by far, the largest and most aggressive effort among state clean energy funds at promoting the use of renewable energy in green buildings.
- Funding is available for different stages of building construction, from feasibility studies to design and construction.
- Projects must meet certain criteria to be considered a green school or green building.
- Grants cover only the "incremental" costs of studying, designing, and constructing a building that incorporates eligible renewable energy technologies, and, to a more limited extent, other technologies and measures that improve the energy efficiency of the facility.
- In general, funding for each program element is allocated in multiple rounds, rather than all through one solicitation.
- Leverage with other programs (especially utility-sponsored energy efficiency programs) is essential.
- Operational data are not yet available, as the Green Schools Initiative was launched in October 2001 and the Green Buildings Initiative began in March 2002. However, with several RFPs out on the street, more results will soon become available.
- So far, funding has been awarded to 10 Massachusetts schools under the first Green Schools RFP that closed in January 2002, and another 22 schools have received early stage planning and design assistance. In addition, seven owners/developers have received Green Buildings Design and Construction grants and an additional 17 owners/developers have been awarded funding to undertake green building feasibility studies. Some of the awardees are described later in the case study.