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We've Broken Ground! And what a beautiful day it was...

Several dozen of our pilings already in place!

Several dozen of our pilings already in place!

If you’ve been following the progress of Sunset Green Home, you know that we have finally broken ground.  And today we hosted an “official” Groundbreaking Ceremony at the project site to thank the elected officials who made possible the green building tax incentives that we hope to capture.

We had about 40 people in attendance, including neighbors, environmental activists, providers of green building products and technologies, our sponsors from Marvin Windows and Speonk Lumber, representatives from the Town of Southampton, real estate professionals, the Sunset Green Home project team, and others. 

Our guests of honor were Assemblyman Fred Thiele and Greg Blower from Senator Kenneth LaValle’s staff.  At the last minute, Southampton Town Supervisor, Anna Throne-Holst, was unable to join us…but she remains one of my honorees because the tax incentives wouldn’t have been possible without her support. 

L to R: Greg Blower, Office of New York State Senator Kenneth LaValle;  Kathryn Cannon, LEED AP Homes and SGH Project Team Member; New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr.; Kim Erle, SGH Project Team Leader; Chris Mensch, General Contractor and SGH Project Team Member; Bill Heine, Architect and SGH Project Team Member; Richard Manning, LEED Green Rater and SGH Verification Team Member.

L to R: Greg Blower, Office of New York State Senator Kenneth LaValle;  Kathryn Cannon, LEED AP Homes and SGH Project Team Member; New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr.; Kim Erle, SGH Project Team Leader; Chris Mensch, General Contractor and SGH Project Team Member; Bill Heine, Architect and SGH Project Team Member; Richard Manning, LEED Green Rater and SGH Verification Team Member.

So what exactly are these green building tax incentives that I keep talking about?  They’re an embodiment of the concept of “Think global, act local,” often attributed to social activist and city planner Patrick Geddes from his 1915 book “Cities in Evolution.”

In 2012, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. and New York State Senator Kenneth LaValle sponsored legislation that would authorize local governments and school districts to provide tax incentives for homes built to LEED® (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) or equivalent standards.  Southampton Town Supervisor, Anna Throne-Holst, shepherded the local effort, which was adopted by the Town of Southampton on August 13, 2013. 

Receiving flowers from our project sponsors at Marvin Windows

Receiving flowers from our project sponsors at Marvin Windows

And what does all of this mean for us?  If we succeed in our goal of LEED Platinum certification at the completion of our project, we will earn a property tax exemption equivalent to approximately $14,000 over the course of ten years.  This tax incentive more than covers the cost of our Verification Team, and a couple of the green building strategies that we are incorporating into the project.  But what makes this exciting to us is that it’s essentially “free money” in the sense that we are building the house that we had planned all along, and – except for the added cost of verification – we believe the cost of construction will be no higher than if we weren’t aiming for LEED certification.

So, THANK YOU, Senator LaValle, Assemblyman Thiele, and Supervisor Throne-Holst.  I applaud your commitment to sustainable building. 

With Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr.

With Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr.

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