In the depths of the recession, Lee Ann worked with home builders to design a green-building incentive program that jump-started a dormant housing market.
The Home Builders Association of Delaware and DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara discussed possible incentives for encouraging more green home building. Examples from other states seemed overly complicated and time-consuming. Lee Ann was assigned to work with the Home Builders to develop a simpler program that rewarded the home buyer at settlement with a rebate of $3,000-$6,000 for achieving a level of LEED or National Green Building Standard. The rules and application process were kept simple, and the program was underwritten by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus funds.
Governor Markell launched Delaware Green for Green in June 2010, and the Home Builders credit the program with spurring home-buying when nothing else was working. Under the straightforward rules, the rebates were not offered in more rural areas where sprawling development would create other environmental issues and require more driving.
At the height of the first phase of the program, Delaware ranked #1 per capita and #4 in absolute terms among states for homes receiving the National Green Building Standard certification. More than 200 homebuyers received their third-party certification and a rebate check.
The successful program was recently revamped as the housing market recovers. It is not operated by Energize Delaware – the Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU).